Smartphone apps for taxi alternatives

NEW YORK (NBC) – Apps like Lyft and Uber are “lifting” off. They’re taxi alternatives you can hail with your smartphone. The services use local drivers who go through stringent background checks and utilize their own vehicles.

Download the Uber app and you have a choice to get picked up in style costing 40% more than a taxi or something more economical on average 25% less than a cab. Your credit card is attached to the app so you don’t need cash to get around.

“There’s a fare estimator in it so you can type in an address you’re going to get an estimate of the cost before you request and if the price is anything different it will show you right in the app and you’ll have to approve before you can move forward and request that car,” said James Ondrey of Uber.

David hall has been a commercial service driver for 40 years, from cabs to limos, this gives him extra business, “Pretty busy most of the time so on the times that i’m not i fill in and supplement my income.”

However, they’re not the only new ride in town.

“We introduce each other with a fist bump,” said Maria Slaughter, a Lyft driver.

Maria slaughter is with Lyft a similar service that you’ll recognize by the fuzzy pink mustache.

“We try to make our riding a fun friendly experience we offer snacks we offer drinks if you want to play music feel free,” said Slaughter.

Both services say drivers are background checked and insured. The app sends you the drivers picture, name and car and they have your name.

Some may still find comfort in the well marked taxi that you can hail off the street. Can’t do that with the apps but taxi drivers aren’t too worried.

“Competition is always good, competition is always good,” said Frank Daifallah, a taxi driver.

The Uber and Lyft apps are free to download. You have to sign up with a credit card but it’s not charged until you use the service.

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