Some cab services already use the Flywheel app, but now customers can flag down passing cabs and pay for their rides directly through the app.
The new feature, known as “Pay by Flywheel” was announced on Thursday. CEO Rakesh Mathur stated that the company is giving people the ability to catch a ride in a taxi without having to dig around for cash or credit cards.
Flywheel is similar to Lyft and Uber, which lets people hire rides on-demand and pay right through the app. But the one thing that sets Flywheel apart is that it pairs passengers with professional taxi companies – not everyday drivers. This gives the company a distinct advantage as taxi companies already have insurance policies in place and follow local regulations.
Mathur says there’s a unique value with taxis as you can walk right into them. What Flywheel does is meld both the digital and physical worlds of transportation to make things more convenient for both drivers and passengers.
The Flywheel service launched in 2013 and only operated in San Francisco. Since its launch, services have moved into San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles and Sacramento. On Thursday, Flywheel also launches in Portland, Oregon.
While Flywheel is facing some stiff competition with Uber and Lyft dominating the market, it has still raised $34.9 million in funding. Uber has raised a whopping $5.9 billion, and Lyft has raised $862.5 million.