Putting The Breaks on Mobile Apps for Taxis?

Need a taxi? There are apps for that… a lot of apps. There are so many of these apps, in fact, that regulators are looking into this plethora of transportation-related mobile services.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that taxi and limousine regulators from 15 U.S. and Canadian cities are going to release guidelines Friday aimed at “reining in some of the smartphone applications and online services that are radically changing how customers hail cabs.”

Based on the few details we presently have, the rules are being drawn up by a task force of the International Association of Transportation Regulators.

This includes members from taxi-friendly towns like New York, Chicago, Boston, Houston, San Francisco, and Toronto. Together they will “address emerging technology that allows passengers to hire cars and pay their fares using smartphones.”

So what’s behind the effort?

“The regulators really resent being branded as cronies and antitechnology,” says former New York City taxi commissioner Matthew Daus. “It couldn’t be further from the truth. But they have to do their job and make sure it’s safe, customers aren’t being ripped off, and people aren’t being hurt.”