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El Paso cab companies launch new app to compete against Uber

Cab companies make app to compete against Uber.

El Paso taxicab companies are joining forces to launch a new app and website to win some customers back from Uber.

Border Cab Co. created Andale Ride, the first such app in the country, and shared it free with all five cab companies in town. The owner said the competition in El Paso is no longer other cab companies; it's Uber.

Andale Ride is a lot like Uber, but it has several key differences that the El Paso cab companies hope give them a competitive edge.

First, there is no "surge pricing" like Uber. Second, customers can pay with a credit card or cash. Rides can be called on demand or scheduled in advance. For the drivers, tips can be added within the app. The app takes only $3 of commission from drivers, no matter the distance, instead of the traditional 20 percent of the entire trip, like Uber.

The founder of Andale Ride, Joe Olivar, said he was tired of Uber not following the same laws required of cabs, and the city not holding it to the same standards.

"I am not going to sit back and wait for somebody else to do something for me. I spoke with the other company owners. I said, 'Guys, we can sit here, wait and see what the city does, or we can be proactive.' The technology is a great technology. It's available," Olivar said.

Olivar said his app is safer than Uber. Drivers are fingerprinted, background checked and registered through El Paso Police, and cab companies use only licensed, insured and vetted drivers.

"I've told city officials I'm not going to bend, I'm not going to lower the bar when it comes to safety to accommodate Uber. They need to be brought up to the bar," Olivar said. "It's important for the people of our community to know who is picking you up."

The app and website are still in the beta phase. Andale Ride is expected to launch in the next three to four weeks.

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