Uber and Lyft have nearly pushed traditional taxi cabs out of business in many cities, but cab companies aren't going down without a fight. One big thing Uber and Lyft have going for them are their apps, and the taxi industry is beginning to catch up by developing taxi-focused apps.
RideYellow is an app that allows users to request and pay for yellow cabs in California, Florida, and Washington D.C. I gave it a try in Los Angeles to see if a taxi app has any hope of keeping up with Uber and Lyft.
I found the RideYellow app to be functional, but lacking a lot of the features and polish of Uber and Lyft. And the biggest buzzkill is that you're going to pay typical taxi rates with RideYellow, which as we all know are significantly higher than Uber and Lyft's cut rates.
RideYellow is both a matching app and a cab company. For my ride, I was matched with a non-RideYellow cab. How quickly I took for granted how nice Uber and Lyft vehicles are: The cab I rode in was old, dirty, and covered in regulatory signs and a rats nest of electronic devices.
Another benefit of an app like RideYellow is that it allows payment flexibility: You can pay in the app, or with cash or card inside the cab. You can never use cash to pay for Uber/Lyft.
Remember street hails? You can't hail an Uber or Lyft from the street. With RideYellow, you can hail a cab from the curb and 'sync' the RideYellow app with the cab and pay electronically via the app. That's helpful when the wait for Uber or Lyft gets long at busy airports or events.
Overall, RideYellow and other taxi apps show that the taxi industry isn't dead quite yet. With Uber and Lyft losing money year after year, apps like RideYellow may end up bringing the taxi industry back to life.