TLC Hackathon looks to fix rush-hour taxi shortage

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The evening rush hour in New York City can be a frustrating exercise if you are trying to catch a cab.

But there may be a fixable reason for that.

As you wrap up work, one third of the cab drivers in the city are flipping on their off-duty light right at the height of the evening rush, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

That means roughly 4,500 fewer cabs are on the road when you need them the most, but riders don't need to hear statistics to know it's a problem.

The city has struggled with it for years, and finally the Taxi and Limousine Commission is looking for solutions.

The TLC gathered a group of cab drivers, urban planners and computer programmers over the weekend to come up with some ideas to ease the pain.

Suggested changes include more flexible shifts and switching drivers at gas stations rather than taxi garages.

Some cab drivers would like to see their own street lanes, like what buses have.

A representative for the taxi cab industry said that owners are happy to look at any solutions that all parties can agree to, but he believes the TLC needs to examine its own rules that can sometimes become an obstacle for a quick turnaround for the drivers.

The cab companies also have plenty of incentives to fix the problem. For the first time, there are more Uber cars on the street than yellow cabs. Obviously, the ability to book a car when you need it a big advantage over standing out on street with your arm out in the air, wondering if you are ever getting home.
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