Despite the presence of Uber and Lyft, Taxis are still a popular option for tourists and commuters who are either on a budget or don’t own a smartphone. And, with cab companies starting to accept payment methods like Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay, the ability to catch and pay for a cab has gotten more convenient. However, one interesting option can get a taxi and pay with bitcoin.

This isn’t exactly a new development. Back in 2013, a number of taxi firms began accepting bitcoin. Jonas Gilys, development director at Lithuanian taxi firm JazzExpress, said at the time, “We decided to start accepting bitcoins in our taxis to help increase the impact of bitcoin – we love the idea of bitcoin, and we want it to become more famous. Also, it gives more flexibility for our customers and helps us to save money on fees.”

Alistair Nixon, owner of Cumbria Cabs and another early adopter, stated, “I was attracted by the very low charges for sending and receiving payments when compared with credit cards, PayPal, and other online payments.” Cloud-hosted booking and despatch system Go-Taxi also allowed customers to pay through BitPay.

A year later, New Yorkers began spotting Bitcoin accepted here” signs in cabs. And, since then, the amount of taxi firms that take Bitcoin has been steadily growing.

In London, commuters can now use Bitcoin plastic cards while in Budapest more than 580 cabs can accept the cryptocurrency by partnering with TheCoinPay. According to András Lőwy, the chief executive at CoinPay, “Our company wants those with bitcoins to be able to spend them on services, products, in shops, because it creates business and it helps those who need that service.”

One of the most recent adapters is Emniyet Taksi, a taxi company located in the resort city of Marmaris in Turkey. The initiative was spearheaded by Kursat Oncel, a tourism entrepreneur who also hopes that restaurants, hotels, and travel agencies will also join Emniyet Taksi in accepting bitcoin payments.

On top of traditional cab companies, there are also companies, such as LaZooz, that are actually a decentralized payment platform

Why Taxis Should Accept Bitcoin Payments

One advantage that bitcoin payments could present for both firms and commuters is that it could lower prices for taxi rides. Depending on the location, there are times when Uber and Lyft are more expensive than a cab.

As Steven Gleiser explains, “This is because they offer a service that is perceived to be more exclusive and of a higher quality.” Gleiser adds that to offer a cheaper ride, taxi companies “could form some kind of inter-regional or even international association to institute pay sharing networks.” By doing so “would allow the lower budget travelers to buy their ride before they arrive to their destination.”

For international travelers, bitcoin would replace the foreign exchange fees that add-up whenever they use their card for a transaction or withdraw money. That’s because bitcoin is a global currency where the cost of an item or service is the same amount no matter where you are in the world.

Besides making transportation more affordable, traveling will also become more convenient. For example, as described in NEWSBTC, “when Uber entered India, they started facing issues with their credit card payment system integrated into their application. India has less number of credit card users and the central bank requires two-factor authentication for each card transaction.” This caused setbacks between riders and Uber, which was resolved thanks to the company teaming up with mobile wallet services.

With bitcoin, there wouldn’t be a disruption of services since there wouldn’t be any issues between various credit card companies and banks that have different regulations and currency rates. Removing third parties would simplify transactions since payments would only occur between the two parties.

Another potential benefit would be the opportunity for commuters to earn loyalty points by using blockchain technology and splitting the cost of a ride between customers.

I'm Chalmers and I'm the Co-Founder and CTO of Due.com.

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