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Seattle Entrepreneur Aims To Help Taxis And For-Hire Cars Compete With Uber

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
Seattle Yellow Cab does not use the asterRIDE app. It has its own mobile-phone app.

The past couple of years have been rocky for taxi companies as riders flock to services such as Uber, which has a network of drivers who use their own cars to pick up rides and find customers through a smartphone app.

 Now, Seattle entrepreneur Seth Rudin is aiming to help taxis and for-hire vehicles better compete.

But he admits that Uber is a force to be reckoned with.

"They are tough," Rudin said. 

Still, Rudin says he doesn’t need to knock Uber out because there’s so much demand for rides.

Rudin and his team have created an app called asterRIDE that lets people order a taxi or a for-hire car or a limo, then track on their phones how long it will take to arrive and then pay through the app instead of with cash.

If you’ve ever wished you could call a whole bunch of taxi companies at once to get one quickly – that’s what Rudin aims to do. His app acts as a kind of central dispatch.

"Most companies agree with me that no one company can service all of one city, not even one of the ride-share themselves," Rudin said. 

AsterRide competes with another app called Flywheel and is now available in Seattle, Everett, Phoenix and Orlando. They’re adding Chicago and Los Angeles later this month.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.