Off to the Races for Uber, Lyft

Ride-hailing services, now legal here at last, abound
One new ride service on the scene is Skedaddle, a crowdsource app that allows users to create their own mass transit routes without being charged until everyone has paid. Skedaddle will offer free service this Saturday and Sunday to anyone who downloads its app.

Today is the day that Uber, Lyft, and other “transportation network companies” can begin operating legally on the South Fork, as the result of a law approved in Albany earlier this month that removed them from local regulation, giving it instead to the State Department of Motor Vehicles.

The law effectively killed an East Hampton Town regulation that required every taxi company to maintain a local office, and another in Southampton Town that required drivers to have local permits.

Today is also the day that the big ride-hailing companies, which allow riders to use an app to summon cars and pay for rides, are undoubtedly going to discover local competition. A new service, TAHA Limo, an East Hampton company, is now an option, as is an app called Skedaddle.

As with Uber, customers can request a car on the TAHA Rider app, and even more, they can choose a sedan, S.U.V., limo, luxury van, or party bus. TAHA will accommodate big parties by accepting requests for up to five cars at a time. Customers can also reserve a car up to six months in advance.

Among TAHA’s distinctive services is “Don’t Drive Drunk” (D.D.D.), which will send a car with two drivers to a specified location, helping a car owner and his or her vehicle to get home safely.

Also getting in on the action is Skedaddle, is a crowdsource app that allows users to create their own mass transit routes without being charged until everyone has paid. Skedaddle will offer free service this Saturday and Sunday to anyone who downloads its app. Instead of payment, riders will only need to show proof of the downloaded mobile app to the driver.

This Saturday, the 35-person Skedaddle-summoned bus will shuttle people to and from Southampton Main Street to Cooper’s Beach from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the evening, the bus will loop around to popular Southampton bars and clubs, including the Publick House, 75 Main, Southampton Social Club, and AM Southampton. On Sunday, Skedaddle will move to Montauk, taking customers from the heart of the hamlet to Ditch Plain during the day and to such nightlife locations as the Surf Lodge, Sloppy Tuna, Montauk Beach House, and Ruschmeyer’s. 

While not exactly an app, but perhaps the closest thing to it, texting to call for a car has also begun. Instead of using an app, customers can text 668 MTK Taxi to arrange rides. “Our phone number receives texts, and the text goes to the nearest driver,” Adnan Arshad said of the new company. Its phone number is 631-668-1040.

Just how all the new services will affect local taxi companies is as yet unknown. Phoning one of them, or safely and lawfully driving yourself, are still alternatives.