In a World’s First, Flywheel TaxiOS Earns Statewide Approval for GPS-Based Taximeter in California
California Division of Measurement Standards green lights Flywheel’s mobile platform replacing meter, payment system, navigation and dispatch technology with a single smartphone
December 22, 2015 - Today Flywheel, the mobile platform revolutionizing the transportation industry with quick, safe and affordable rides, announces the first and only GPS-based taximeter in the world recognized and approved for use by regulators. Starting today, California’s Division of Measurement Standards has given taxi operators in the state the ability to replace their taximeter, payment system, navigation and dispatch with TaxiOS, Flywheel’s mobile and cloud-based platform. Flywheel brings taxis the technology to compete in the on-demand economy, while providing drivers with more economic opportunity and riders with a safe, surge-free alternative.
The patent-pending TaxiOS meter is multimodal, using GPS and other sensory information to calculate fares accurately and fairly. While a recent GMA investigation found that 50 percent of New Jersey hardware taximeters tested failed an audit, this new software system is an accurate alternative that is turnkey to implement, less expensive to maintain and less susceptible to fraud.
“California has long been one of the technological and economic leaders in the world, and with the approval of our software-based meter the state has again taken a big step in advancing leading edge urban transportation,” said Rakesh Mathur, Flywheel CEO. “A smartphone in every car is the only way to advance the taxi industry, and we now have a mobile platform that can replace every expensive and outdated piece of taxi hardware, while making drivers and fleets more money than ever before.”
Previous attempts to modernize the taxi industry have failed because they attempted to build on top of antiquated technology first introduced in the 1890s. TaxiOS brings the first real change to the industry since credit card readers, with one of the largest benefits being more flexible fares for riders. Currently, most meters only allow for a single, predetermined rate or flat-rate rides. However, Flywheel’s customizable system will allow fleets to offer riders better pricing options – especially at non-peak hours – where permitted by regulation. For example in San Francisco there is the opportunity to increase rides by charging less than the meter rate, while never burning riders with surging prices.
The cloud-based platform will also allow for passengers to split payments via mobile, opening the taxi industry up to the possibility of carpooling. For drivers, TaxiOS offers long sought-after flexibility in schedules, including part-time hours and taxi pickup closer to drivers’ homes. As a mobile platform, TaxiOS also brings new revenue opportunities like last-mile e-commerce delivery to taxi drivers.
“For the protection of all Californians, we have very high standards for accuracy in commercial measuring devices throughout the state,” said Kristin Macey, director of California’s Division of Measurement Standards. “Working with Flywheel, we put its metering software through a wide variety of tests under very challenging conditions. We determined that the software provides the same level of accuracy as a taximeter and gives consumers a real-time display of current ride price, something they expect in a taxicab. The Flywheel system also complies with our existing regulations that taximeters must meet, to charge passengers by time or distance depending on the vehicle’s speed, never both at the same time.”
Flywheel is currently available all the major West Coast cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Sacramento and Portland. Earlier this year, DeSoto Cab rebranded as FlywheelTaxi , putting hundreds of branded cabs on the streets of San Francisco. These taxis were the first to take part in a pilot testing the GPS meter in San Francisco, facilitated by the SFMTA. Now, all California taxis have the option to upgrade to Flywheel TaxiOS, where the company has approval to operate throughout the state for one year pending full type certification.
“The SFMTA is proud to have played a pivotal role in the pilot testing of Flywheel’s GPS-based meter technology,“ said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin. “Taking a leadership position on bringing new technology to the taxi industry is a positive step toward keeping the industry competitive. We’re excited to know that what happened on San Francisco streets may reinvent taxi ridership for the state of California and potentially beyond.”
Learn more about Flywheel and download the apps at www.flywheel.com.
Headquartered in Redwood City, Flywheel is a technology platform for the taxi industry that connects passengers with licensed, high-quality drivers. Flywheel’s TaxiOS replaces the antiquated meter, payments and dispatch technology with a single device. The Flywheel mobile app allows passengers to order taxi rides in real-time, track arrival via GPS and automatically pay their fare via their smartphone device.
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