New mobile app for Milwaukee taxis challenges disruptive competitors

Facing industry pressure from mobile ride-booking applications Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., American United Taxi Services is pushing back with an app of its own.

“TAXIMKE” is designed with its competitors’ concept in mind: order, book and track a taxi through your smartphone. Unlike Uber and Lyft’s apps, TAXIMKE lets users pay via credit card or cash, which the company bills as a selling point. However, as far as I can tell, you can’t pay through the app itself, something I consider a slight disadvantage.

“TAXIMKE lets Milwaukee residents and visitors enjoy the convenience and ease of ordering using new technology without sacrificing safety and security or overpaying for their ride,” said Jason Matias, director of operations for TAXIMKE, in a press release.

It’s a nice little app — not as sleek as its deep-pocketed competitors’, but user-friendly and clean. You can also easily determine the price estimate for a given destination, which is convenient and (I think) a genuine advantage. Its location services are not so hot, and inputting destination and starting points became slightly frustrating. Assuming the company plans to refine the app, it’s a solid starting point.

With Uber and Lyft’s mobile apps already established, the competition largely comes down to the taxis’ ability to promote the new booking option.

According to the company, American United is launching the TAXIMKE app at its taxi stand near the Summerfest mid-gate on the east end of the Italian Community Center. New users can get a free can cooler and be entered in a drawing to win a $1,000 cash prize for downloading and registering the app, offering a platform for the roll-out, plus some nice incentives.