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Uber to Make Taxis Available on its Ride-Hailing App in San Francisco in a New Partnership with Flywheel Technologies

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【Summary】Flywheel Technologies, which provides smartphone app bookings for the taxi industry, announced a strategic partnership with Uber Technologies that will allow its taxi drivers to pick up Uber customers nationwide. The integration with Uber's app will first launch in San Francisco, and then roll out to other cities in the following months.

Eric Walz    Apr 08, 2022 9:30 AM PT
Uber to Make Taxis Available on its Ride-Hailing App in San Francisco in a New Partnership with Flywheel Technologies
A Flywheel taxi in San Francisco in June 2019. (Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Flywheel Technologies, which provides smartphone app bookings for the taxi industry, announced a strategic partnership with Uber Technologies that will allow its taxi drivers to pick up Uber 's customers nationwide. 

The integration with Uber will first launch in San Francisco, and then roll out to other cities in the following months. For Uber customers, it provides more transportation options as local cabs, which Uber famously fought to get rid of, will now have to access Uber's platform, which matches riders with nearby drivers.

The agreement will provide Uber riders access to taxis whenever convenient. 

Flywheel is a leading provider of smartphone booking for the taxi industry. The company's platform allows customers to hail a taxi using its smartphone app in the same way that Uber customers request a ride.

Flywheel is one of the largest taxi operators in North America, with over 100 taxi fleets in 53 cities in the U.S. and Canada that includes 30,000 taxicabs, 50,000 drivers and 700,000 registered passengers. 

Flywheel's 50,000 cab drivers will now have the ability to provide service for people requesting rides from the Uber app in addition to Flywheel's existing taxi hailing platform.

This partnership between the two leading companies aims to help drivers recover from losses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time making it more convenient for riders by having more vehicle's available when they need a ride.

"We are pleased to be partnering with Flywheel to help support drivers and provide riders in San Francisco with another transportation option," said Guy Peterson, Director of Business Development at Uber. "This partnership will give drivers increased flexibility and additional earnings opportunities as the pandemic recovery continues."

Uber's partnership with Flywheel is the second major agreement with the taxi industry. Last month, Uber announced plans to add yellow cabs to its ride-hailing app in one of its biggest U.S. markets, New York City. The extra vehicles will help Uber deal with its chronic driver shortages, which are hampering its core transportation business.

In New York, Uber is working with taxi software companies Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT) and Curb in New York City, with the goal of expanding the collaboration U.S.-wide.

Yellow cab drivers on the CMT platform, which includes the taxi app Arro, will also gain access to Uber's massive customer base, yielding a higher number of trips and expanded revenue opportunities.

Anyone using the Uber app in New York will have access to thousands of the city's yellow taxis that operate on the CMT/Arro platform. Taxi drivers will see Uber-originated fares on their driver monitors that they currently use to accept fares from the Arro taxi app. 

Uber says it plans to include every NYC taxi on its Uber app by 2025. 

Uber's willingness to work with city taxis in San Francisco and New York is a big turnaround from its past aggressive efforts to disrupt the transportation industry and putting taxi operators out of business.

Flywheel is San Francisco's oldest surviving taxi company. The company was formerly named DeSoto Cabs, founded in the 1930s. The company rebranded as Flywheel in 2015. 

Flywheel even sued Uber in 2016 over antitrust and monopoly charges as the two rivals were fiercely competing in San Francisco. Now they will be partners.

During Uber's investor day presentation in February, the company said its views taxis as a major business opportunity, calling it a "highly fragmented" $120 billion industry with 20 million active vehicles. These 20 million vehicles are more than five times bigger than Uber's own driver partner fleets, and up until now, remained a largely untapped resource for Uber. Now that's no longer the case.

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