VeriFone Systems has launched Way2Ride, a mobile app that enables taxi passengers to get in, tap to pay, and get out of the cab the moment their ride is over.

Way2Ride uses Zoosh, VeriFone’s sound-based technology that checks passengers into their ride, allowing for transmission of payment information through the cloud. Way2Ride is VeriFone’s first commercial deployment of the Zoosh technology, which utilizes the speakers and microphones of smartphones to securely exchange encrypted data between devices.

The app will be initially deployed in New York City, with plans to expand to taxi systems globally. The launch comes just months after the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission started an e-hailing pilot program this summer, giving riders the opportunity to use apps developed by Hailo, Taxi Magic and Uber to schedule rides.

The pilot was originally designed to give passengers the ability to pay for rides with their phones, but so far, none of the three e-hail app providers offer the capability. While the apps all have the ability to make mobile payments, the developers must integrate their apps with VeriFone and Creative Mobile Technologies on-board payments systems.

But there is little incentive for the in-car terminal vendors to integrate with the apps, since they also handle payment processing for the cabs and would stand to lose revenue from taxi fares paid with the mobile apps. As part of VeriFone's Way2Ride launch, the company said it is making the mobile payments platform available to e-hail app developers.

VeriFone and Creative Mobile Technologies have long held a duopoly for the in-cab payments terminals installed in New York's iconic yellow cabs. With the launch of a new class of for-hire vehicles called street-hail livery cars, the two companies were granted semi-exclusive licenses to install their integrated hardware and software systems in the bright green cars that will serve the city's outer boroughs.

With Way2Ride, passengers preload payment information and preferred tip amounts in the app. Once in the cab, riders can pay at any time with a tap of their phone. Digital receipts are stored in the app and accessible online for tagging and expense reporting.

Currently available for iOS and Android smartphones, the app is designed to make the rider’s experience faster by avoiding the step in which riders take out cash or a card to make a payment at the end of a ride. Way2Ride is built on VeriFone’s open API cloud platform, which the company plans to extend to gas stations in the future.

“Way2Ride makes every taxi ride better, whether you hail by hand or with an app,” said Amos Tamam, senior vice president of taxi systems for VeriFone, in a release.

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