I find myself traveling down to New York from my home base of Boston at least once a month. While I generally aim for taking the subway and Amtrak, there are a lot of times I find myself in a taxi. Outside of rush hour, it’s the fastest way to get to and from Boston’s South Station. And, while I have become quite familiar with navigating Manhattan by subway, after a late evening dinner I generally hop in a cab back to my hotel.
And when I say taxi, many times I really mean Uber. Like many people, I fell in love with Uber’s convenience. I knew that *my* driver was coming to pick *me* up so I didn’t have to wander around looking for a cab. Best of all, once the Uber ride was done, I just got out. No messing with credit cards or tips.
My favorite part of Uber is actually the electronic receipts. I track all of my travel expenses with Expensify, which has a nifty feature that allows you to just email them your receipts, and they will catalog them for you, just like TripIt does.
But as much as I love Uber, there is a lot to be said for taking good old-fashioned taxis. Manhattan is full of them, and when they are whizzing by you, it often feels silly to pull out your phone, call an Uber, and then wait several minutes for it to arrive. Same thing in Boston… I get off the train at 9:45 pm, and there is a line of taxis. Much easier to just hop in one and go home.
Unfortunately, it means extra time at the end… I get to my destination, and just when I want to get out and go to bed, I find myself needing to mess with the cab interface, punching in the tip amount, then swiping my credit card, and finally getting a receipt, which I will need to later photograph and enter into Expensify to track.
And then I found Arro.
About half of the taxis I ride in both NYC and Boston were constantly talking about the benefits of the Arro app on the annoying little TV they have. It claimed to be just as good as Uber… you could use it to call a cab, and then when you got out, they would email you a receipt. Even better, if you hopped into a random cab that was part of Arro’s network, you could just punch in the code and Arro would handle seamless payment for the trip.
One night, as I was riding in a cab home, I decided to give it a try out of curiosity. I downloaded the app, registered myself, and then punched in my credit card. I then punched in the cab’s paring code, and voila. The taxi recognized me, and that was it. Once I got to my destination, I just got out. It added the 20% tip for me automatically and sent me a receipt. Just as easy as Uber.
Currently, Arro operates in New York, Boston, and Chicago, which is perfect for me. They have plans to expand soon to San Francisco and Washington, D.C. I’d say about half the taxis I get into use Arro.
When I get in the taxi, I look at the tv screen and check to see if it is an Arro taxi. I can tell by the presence of the seven digit pairing code at the top of the screen:
Once I have the pairing code, I fire up the Arro app and punch in the number:
And that’s it… I have paired. Arro automatically selects my stored credit card and default tip amount of 20%:
I can maintain multiple credit cards if I need to use different cards for work versus personal.
When all is done, I get an email, just like Uber:
So, if you are in NYC or Boston and frequently ride in taxis, give it a try. It really does work well.