Updated 

Another Vegas firm developing e-hailing app


A second local company is producing a smartphone e-hailing application that would work with regulated transportation companies in Southern Nevada.

The chief technology officer of Fare Motion offered comments about the Nevada Transportation Authority’s proposed amendment to rate regulations at a public hearing Thursday.

The hearing addressed several proposed regulation changes, including one that would enable the addition of a commission or referral fee for the use of an app that enables users to hail transportation with a smartphone.

Jack Bond told authority commissioners he believes transportation companies shouldn’t be allowed to charge as much as the authority allowed Integrity Vehicle Solutions to charge in the interim with the introduction of its Ride Genie app.

Integrity rolled out Ride Genie on Wednesday and an order by the authority board enables the company to charge 10 percent of the overall fare up to $5 as a customer service fee for use of the service through the app.

Bond, who formerly worked for Integrity and is waiting out a two-year non-compete clause after his departure from the company, said he felt it was “greedy” for companies to charge as much as they are allowed.

He said it was ironic that a customer who chooses to place a telephone call to make a reservation for a ride doesn’t have to pay anything, yet the app automates the manpower expenses of hailing a ride.

A representative of Integrity, attorney Neal Tomlinson, said the company welcomed the future competition, but he said Bond likely doesn’t realize the expenses involved in producing and maintaining an app.

The authority will review its first tariff requests for use of the app next week. Under transportation regulations, companies using the app to generate business must list what they plan to charge in tariffs that are reviewed by the authority board.

A staff member said there are nine requests to amend tariffs for use of the Ride Genie app on Tuesday’s monthly board meeting agenda. In the interim, companies can use the temporary rate approved by the authority for Integrity on rides generated through Ride Genie.

The app regulation amendment wasn’t the only proposal to receive comments.

The authority is considering an amendment that would prevent buses from staging at any location other than a carrier’s domicile unless a bus is loading or unloading passengers or has a written agreement with the property owner.

Representatives of the Nevada Business and Limousine Association, an organization comprised of small bus and limousine companies, opposes the amendment because they frequently attract business through on-demand requests from groups going to a common destination.

Large companies that have the resources to book large groups in advance favor the amendment.

Representatives of the small companies and the large companies were in agreement that they want the authority to develop strict regulations against so-called free shuttle services that transport customers to adult entertainment clubs. Representatives of the regulated carriers say the vehicles used for free shuttles are in poor condition and that companies operating them hire drivers who were rejected by the regulated companies for various reasons.

Regulated carriers also want the authority to crack down more on unlicensed out-of-town companies that attempt to transport passengers during busy times in Las Vegas.

Authority Chairman Andrew MacKay said the authority impounded more vehicles and issued more citations in 2013 than anytime in the organization’s history. He said the agency impounded 186 vehicles in 2013, beating the record of 124 in 2010, and issued 603 citations last year, surpassing the previous high of 446 in 2006.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta.

 

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