New York City and her iconic yellow taxi service are both historic treasures, but like all things, they too must consider whether to undergo technological advances in order to stay on top of today's culture and society. With smartphones more popular now than ever before, the city has embraced a fusion of smartphones with its taxi service, resulting in an e-hail pilot program the past year for mobile apps such as Uber, Hailo, and Taxi Magic. However, due to complaints from local cab companies, the courts placed a temporary restraining order on all taxi hailing apps.
After a lot of discussion, the courts reversed their decision last week and are currently allowing the apps to operate in the city. The city's taxi companies have said that they believe the apps are infringing on their consumer market, namely prearranged taxi services. However, judges have concluded that the software is just another form of hailing a cab, and therefore may operate freely in the city and surrounding suburbs, on the condition that they cooperate with the Taxi and Limousine Commissions (TLC).
While this new business model has already been implemented successfully in other cities such as London (since November 2011), it will always result in technological alienation, competition for protected local businesses, and even some feeling of cultural bastardization. The question is whether these kinds of advances are in the best interest for cities around the globe, and whether the heritage of a city should be protected with an iron fist, or should evolve and form around the modern age in order to offer a cultural and historic city of tomorrow. As always, feel free to share your feelings and opinions in the comments section below.