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Beck prepares to launch new taxi app

The taxi wars are heating up across Toronto as Beck Taxi prepares to go head-to-head with popular startup ride-share program UberX with the upcoming launch of its new app.

Beck says the goal of its new app is to give passengers more perks such as the option to pay with smartphones and the ability to see when their ordered cab is coming.

“This is the biggest undertaking we have ever participated in,” Beck’s Kristine Hubbard told CityNews. “It’s going to change everything for everyone.”

In addition to the passenger app, Beck is also launching a driver app as well updating its dispatch system.

Hubbard says the company’s entire fleet of 1,850 vehicles will be getting a technology makeover.

“Every car will have a navigation tool. Helping drivers get to where they need to pick people up,” she explained. “We’re a busy company and our dispatchers can only speak so quickly and we need relieve them so we can take in more business and dispatch more cars.”

The soft launch for Beck’s new app is expected to begin in December.

Rival UberX has been gaining ground around the world and continues to expand into new urban markets.

The Uber service came to Toronto in 2012 and in September launched its UberX smartphone app that, unlike traditional taxi cabs, allows anyone with a car and a driver’s licence to pick up passengers. The ride reportedly costs about 40 per cent less than a typical taxi fare.

Since expanding to Canada, the service has faced criticism from taxi companies as well as city officials who have raised safety concerns for drivers as well as potential bylaw infractions.