Taxi app

Flywheel taxi app enters Portland, allows people to pay for the ride with the phone after calling the taxi

Portland homies have another new option for getting around town that isn’t called Uber or Lyft.

Flying, which develops a call application for taxi drivers, launched today in the Pink City. The San Francisco-based startup partners with taxi companies, which can use the Flywheel app to let passengers flag down and pay for rides with their smartphone.

Flywheel, which raised $12 million in funding in November, already operates six other US cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, San Diego and Sacramento.

The company is initially partnering with Broadway Cab, which will equip its fleet with Flywheel technology. Flywheel is offering flat rate rides for $5.03 as part of a promotional offer (Portland’s area code is 503).

Portland-based Broadway Cab and Radio Cab Portland already use Sidewalkanother ridesharing app.

Taxi companies now face new competition after city lawmakers last week approved a 120-day pilot program that allows transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Portland. .

uberportland333The new laws set no restrictions on fares for taxi and TNC drivers, lifting a requirement taxi companies have followed for decades. There is also no cap on the number of vehicles or permits during the 120-day period for taxi companies and transnational corporations, creating a free-for-all environment of sorts.

The enacted regulations come after Uber tried to enter the Portland market for nearly two years. The company, which has raised $5 billion to date and offers services in more than 300 cities around the world, began operating unregulated in December.

Portland city officials were unhappy with the unexpected arrival and launched an undercover operation against the company’s drivers. He eventually filed a lawsuit against Uber.

On Dec. 18, Uber announced it would temporarily cease operations in Portland to allow the city to revise its rental regulations. Under the deal, the city said if new regulations aren’t set in stone by April 9, it would allow Uber and other TNCs to operate with temporary regulations.

On April 9, the city asked for more time to finalize the details of the settlement. Uber said it would wait for the laws to be in place before launching again. Then, last Tuesday, the council voted 3 to 2 to pass the final ordinance.

Speaking of Uber and Portland, David Plouffe, the former White House adviser and currently “campaign manager” for Uber, will speak at an event later tonight in Portland with Mayor Charlie Hales . We’ll cover the conversation, so check back later for a report on that.

Flywheel also announced a new feature today that allows people to hail a taxi on the street and then use Flywheel to pay for the ride. In Portland, Seattle, and most other cities, laws prevent companies like Uber and Lyft from picking up a passenger who hasn’t requested a ride from the app.