SFMTA pilot program will allow riders to see their cab fare before taking the taxi

Riders will be able to use an app to see the cab fare before the trip instead of watching the meter rise during the ride.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- SFMTA approved a pilot program Tuesday to test a new system that could change the way people pay for a taxi in San Francisco.

Riders will be able to use an app to see the fare for a cab ride before the trip. This will be different than the traditional way of watching the meter rise as the trip is happening.

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"I think it will entice people to take taxis more," said Mark Gruberg, a board member with the San Francisco taxi workers alliance. "If people know the fare before getting in, they'll be more inclined to use the taxi over a rideshare."

Starting out, some taxi's will be equipped with a monitor that uses an algorithm to track the trip. The estimated fair will appear where the meter normally is, and the fair will be similar to the normal cost of the trip. The main difference will be riders knowing the fee before the ride as apposed to after.

"I could use it, and I am surprised they are just now doing it," said Sean Leon, a tourist visiting San Francisco. "The main thing will be cost, but it would be great to compare Uber fees to taxi fees, because sometimes taxis are cheaper."

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Some taxi drivers, however, don't want to see anything change. They fear the algorithm could be wrong and drivers will lose money.

"The meter is fine, no need to change," said Sam, a driver who normally works downtown. "That way as a rider it's fair for you and fair for me. If a normal drive to the ballpark is $10 on the meter, but now it changes to $12, that's an issue."

SF Muni and the taxis think this will actually rejuvenate taxis in San Francisco.

"Sure there will be some skepticism," Gruberg said. "But with this pilot program I am hoping it changes things for the better."

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