The reality is proving to be a lot less dramatic.
Numbers compiled by the New York City for June show the apps accounted for less than one quarter of 1 percent of all yellow taxi rides.
People who did try the apps still had a rough time getting a cab, as just 14 percent of the attempts in Manhattan were a success.
In the Bronx, that success rate fell to just 7 percent.
Still, the data shows that passengers outside Manhattan tended to use the app more frequently. According to figures from the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the app also is generally used during off-hours.
Called Uber and Hailo, the app has been available for about two months. The TLC says it's mostly used where taxi service has been historically scarce.
The agency says that of about 117,000 total e-hails in June, only about 20,000 resulted in actual e-hail rides. The Wall Street Journal says that's probably because some users hit the button on their smartphones more than once.
Livery cab drivers claim the app hurts their business in the outer boroughs. They are appealing a court decision that allows the application in yellow taxis.