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Taxi Upfront Pricing Pilot Begins

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Taxi Upfront Fare Pilot Program began on November 9, 2022! 

In September 2021, the SFMTA Board authorized the creation of a one-year Taxi Upfront Fare Pilot Program. The pilot will give taxi customers the ability to book a taxi trip through a taxi e-hail app and pay a flat-rate, upfront fare. It will also allow customers to request a taxi through approved third-party apps.

Our hope is that the pilot benefits taxi users by providing them with upfront information about their fares, relieving meter anxiety, and allowing customers to price shop for similar on-demand services. We believe this will bring taxi services in line with what customers expect on similar services. We also believe it will increase business for the local taxi industry, especially the drivers. A successful pilot would increase overall taxi trips, encourage more people to become taxi drivers, and maintain or improve taxi services for all passengers. 

Beginning November 9, taxi customers have the ability to book a taxi trip through three approved taxi E-hail apps: Arro, Flywheel, and YoTaxi*. The approved E-hail apps will give taxi customers the option of choosing an upfront fare through the app, or they may choose to request a cab through traditional phone dispatch or street hail and simply pay for the trip based on the taximeter amount. The upfront fare offered to taxi customers will closely match the cost to the customer of a fare based on the Taximeter rate.

The pilot program will also allow customers to request or to be matched with a taxi through third-party apps. Uber is the first third-party app to participate in the pilot, which will lay the groundwork for other apps (including Muni Mobile) to refer trips to local taxis. Trips originated from a third-Party app will offer upfront fares that are not based on Taximeter rates. 

The Upfront Fare Pilot allows two types of trips:

  1. Taxi Pilot Trips:
  • Originate with a customer ride request through an approved taxi E-Hail app
  • Dispatched by a taxi E-Hail app
  • Provided by a permitted San Francisco taxi driver in a permitted SF taxi vehicle
  • Upfront fare is based on the estimated taximeter amount 
  1. Third-Party Pilot Trips:
  • Originate with a customer ride request through a third-party app
  • Provided by a permitted San Francisco taxi driver in a permitted SF taxi vehicle
  • Upfront fare is not required to be based on the estimated taximeter amount

Requesting a Taxi through a permitted Taxi E-Hail App

Taxi customers may request taxi rides through three permitted apps: Arro, Flywheel, and YoTaxi*. 

To request a ride, customers can open the app of their choice and input a payment method. After inputting a payment method, customers can request a ride within the app and will be provided with an upfront fare based on the estimated taximeter amount. 

Upon completion of the trip, the payment will be processed by the E-Hail app. No separate payment to the driver will be needed at the end of the trip.

*Currently, Arro and Flywheel are approved, while YoTaxi is eligible to participate and is conditionally approved.

Receiving a Taxi through Uber

Third-party pilot trips will allow San Francisco taxicabs to be matched with Uber customers. Currently, Flywheel is the only Taxi E-Hail App approved to provide Third-party trips.

Customers can request a ride through Uber as normal, but in some instances may be matched with a taxi. Customers will still receive an upfront fare, but the fare will not be based on the estimated taximeter amount. Uber customers will always be notified if they’re matched with a taxi, and if they prefer, can choose to get re-matched. 

Upon completion of the trip, the payment will be processed by Uber. No separate payment to the driver will be needed at the end of the trip.

SF Paratransit Customers

Currently, both YoTaxi and Arro are unable to book paratransit customers as a part of this pilot, and Flywheel will only provide a fare estimate. SFMTA plans on working with the Taxi E-Hail apps to allow for this in the future.

SF Paratransit riders can continue to request rides through the regular process.

Next Steps and Comments 

The SFMTA will report quarterly on the results of the pilot to the taxi industry, our board, and to other stakeholders. We will be having quarterly taxi outreach meetings about this pilot and other topics affecting the industry. 

If you have comments about the pilot, we are taking written feedback.