Taxi users will have a new tool this week in the hunt to find the somewhat illusive Paris taxi, but the app probably won’t provide the big change taxi drivers and customers want.
The "Paris Taxis" app, to be launched by the Paris Town Hall will be available for Android and iPhones. It will allow would-be passengers to send out a signal saying they’re looking for a cab, which would then show up on cabbies’ phones.
But you won’t be able to actually order a taxi, instead you’ll have to hope a kind driver noticed you on his or her phone and will stop for you. At the same time, the app includes a function that’s supposed to tell you where to find the closest taxi stand with available cabs.
This app is intended to bring a little bit of the 21st century into the lives of Paris’s cabbies and allow them to better compete with their sworn enemy: private hire cars, of which Uber is among the best known.
However, one of the primary conveniences of services like Uber is being able to order a car using one’s smartphone, so until the Paris app does that it's unlikely it will be really giving the city’s cabbies a real means to compete.
The app comes in response to the so-called "taxi wars" that erupted earlier this year.
SEE ALSO: Paris to offer flat-rate cabs to airport
France suffered several episodes of traffic chaos when cabbies who’d spent hundreds of thousands of euros to meet government requirements unleashed wild cat strikes to show their outrage over the relatively minor restrictions applied to private hire operators.
One of the outcomes of a government deal to end the strikes is flat rate-pricing for the hundreds of thousands of trips taxis make to Paris’s two primary airports each year.
According to RTL radio, a trip from the northern half of Paris to Orly would cost €35, while it would be €50 to Charles de Gaulle.
For trips that leave from the southern half the capital it would be €55 to Charles de Gaulle and €30 to Orly.
The idea is to both protect riders from shady drivers but also allow cabbies to compete with the fixed-rate services offered by private hire services and airport shuttles.