Passengers open the app when they get into a taxi and press the "I'm in a taxi" button on the screen. The passenger then holds their phone up to the TaxiTV screen (installed in most NYC cabs). The application uses technology from Zoosh, which uses the speakers and microphones of smartphones to securely exchange encrypted data between devices. After listening to the TaxiTV for several seconds, the phone will beep or vibrate to let the passenger know that they've been successfully checked into the ride. The user's preferences will then be displayed on the TaxiTV screen for a few seconds to verify the check-in. NFC is not required.
According to VeriFone, the app lets users preload their payment information with credit card data and preferences such as how much to tip drivers. The app stores receipts digitally, which can be accessed online at any time for expense reports.
[ Before you hail that cab, make sure you know exactly where you're going. See Google Maps Updated: 10 Cool Features. ]
When the ride is over, the bill is generated and paid for automatically by VeriFone's Way2ride application. No need to fumble for a wallet or wait for a receipt from the driver; users can simply exit the taxi once they've reached their destination.
"Way2ride makes every taxi ride better, whether you hail by hand or with an app," said Amos Tamam, senior vice president of Taxi Systems for VeriFone. "An app that provides this convenience in every taxi in New York City, including the new for-hire vehicles in upper Manhattan and the boroughs, will be a real benefit to passengers and drivers alike."
The app can be used to make payments whether the taxi is hailed by hand or through another application. Though the program is launching in New York, VeriFone plans to expand it to more than 70,000 payment-enabled taxis around the globe. VeriFone didn't say which other U.S. cities might support the service, nor did it provide a timeframe for the deployment.
In addition to the new application, VeriFone is making the Way2ride mobile payment platform available to other developers through APIs. It hopes companies that develop taxi-hailing apps will incorporate Way2ride into their own services to make the hailing and paying experience possible from a single application. So far, however, none of the existing taxi-hailing apps have openly voiced support for VeriFone's Way2ride technology.