The singular experience of riding in a yellow cab in New York may soon change.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission plans to introduce two pilot programs that will transform many taxi rides into something like car-pooling with strangers, with two or more passengers riding together to nearby destinations.
The proposals were inspired by methods used during the transit strike in 2005, when yellow cabs were allowed to pick up more than one fare during a single trip.
The proposals are intended to make it easier to find a cab at peak times and to make cab rides cheaper by creating discounts and flat fares.
“If it works, it really could change the dynamics of what happens in terms of moving people around efficiently during rush hour,” said Matthew W. Daus, the chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which will discuss and possibly vote on the proposals at a meeting on Thursday. “It’s like a car pool.”
But the proposals also present the possibility for an unusual social experiment for New Yorkers used to treating their cab as their castle, with the potential arising for negotiations with strangers over routes and drop-off points.
Under one proposal, up to 1,000 yellow cabs would be equipped with meters that could calculate two fares at once, allowing cabbies to stop en route and pick up additional passengers.
The cabs would be marked as “sharecabs” and have electronic signs showing the neighborhood they were headed to, making it possible for people going in the same direction to hail them.
For riders who share a cab, part of the fare — the mileage and the waiting time, but not the initial charge — would be discounted by 50 percent.
Under a second proposal, several taxi stands would be designated as group-ride pickup locations during the morning rush period, from 6 to 10 a.m. The cabs would travel in a designated corridor and charge passengers a flat fare to be dropped off anywhere along that route.
In one example, up to four passengers could board a cab at Pennsylvania Station and pay $4 each to be dropped off along Avenue of the Americas as far north as 59th Street.
Under both proposals, riders would potentially pay less and drivers could potentially earn more, despite the discounts, by carrying several paying passengers at once.
Mr. Daus said the flat-fare plan could begin as early as this fall.
The designated sharecabs will take longer to put into effect, because the technology for multifare meters and rooftop destination signs needs to be worked out. Mr. Daus said it could be in place late this year or next year.
Mr. Daus said the proposals fit with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s agenda to make city policies more environmentally sound.
“It’s better to have four people in one car than in four separate cars,” Mr. Daus said.
Officials will also vote on a separate experiment involving livery cars. Under that proposal, dispatch centers for livery cars would be set up at locations other than the cars’ main bases, like shopping malls. Mr. Daus said that would make it easier and quicker for people to get cars in places where demand is high.
Many of the details of the proposals remained to be worked out.
Under the sharecab plan, officials said, riders would pay half the standard mileage or waiting-time charges during the portion of the trip when more than one fare is on the meter. When a single fare is on the meter, the full rate would be charged. An electronic display in the cab would show passengers the individual fares.
In all cases, riders would pay the full initial fare, currently $2.50 during the day and $3 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Trips between Manhattan and Kennedy International Airport, which currently carry a $45 flat fare, would be discounted to about $30 under the sharecab plan.