AB_iOS_reminderWhile UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar have been approved by lawmakers to operate in Seattle, for-hire companies are trying to stay competitive with apps like Flywheel.

Flywheel, a San Francisco-based company that provides fleets from Eastside For Hire, Apple4Hire, United for Hire and others with app-based technology, is rolling out a new feature in Seattle that allows passengers to schedule rides in advance.

Flywheel told GeekWire that there was “overwhelming demand from customers” for an advance reservation function, and particularly for rides to the airport. The ability to request future rides is something that UberX and Lyft do not offer.

In Seattle, Flywheel does not partner with taxis, but rather for-hire companies — those that charge a fixed fee for each ride and do not use meters. Its app allows these services to give users a way to track and pay for rides with a smartphone.

Flywheel debuted the scheduled ride feature a few weeks ago in San Francisco, where its app is used by 80 percent of cabs there.

“Having integrated the Flywheel app into our entire fleet of taxicabs has allowed our company to be at the leading edge of dispatching technology, bringing a new level of innovation to both our passengers and drivers,” Hansu Kim, co-owner of Bay Area-based DeSoto Cab, said in a statement.

It’s worth noting that Kim recently told the SF Weekly that he’s considering selling his taxi medallions and turning his company into a limousine sedan service due to rising competition from the likes of Uber, Lyft, and other similar transportation startups.

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  • Guest

    Nice! I approve of this innovation. Isn’t it great how once-stubborn industries like taxis have been forced to make their service better to compete in the 21st century?

    • Slaggggg

      I also approve of this innovation.

  • Lawrence Lam

    I’m very confused. Flywheel does not partner with taxis. But Flywheel is integrated with an entire fleet of taxis.

    • Taylor Soper

      It’s a little confusing. Flywheel partners with for-hires in Seattle — those that don’t have meters and charged fixed fees. But in San Francisco they partner with taxicabs. Hope that helps.

  • Slaggggg

    WHY DON’T Uber and the other “transportation network companies” offer advance reservations? This must be the most requested feature outside of new cities. It’s royally annoying to try to time your request to get picked up at the right time when you need a ride that leaves at a specific time.

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