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While Uber was the hearing’s star attraction, several app-based companies such as Hailo — which connects customers with nearby taxis — touted their technology in testimony that often sounded like more of a competitive ad pitch than persuasive rhetoric before a legislative body.

Through the hearing, Ms. Cheh signaled that city leaders must learn to adaptto 21st-century technology that takes the taxi industry beyond the sight lines of a driver meandering around the block.

John Mason, who directs taxi and private-hire licensing in London, testified via Skype that electronic-hail technologies are an “extension of a doorman’s whistle” and have many benefits.

They could decrease harmful emissions by reducing the need for vehicles to roam around the city seeking passengers, he said. They can also eliminate discrimination based on a potential passengers’ race or overall appearance because the driver knows very little about the hailers before pulling up for the rides. Additionally, they create an electronic record that helps reunite passengers with lost items, Mr. Mason said.

He noted London applies the same standards of inspection and review to traditional cab drivers as ones who drive in partnership with Web apps.

“One minute, he may be doing a hail that has been provided by the application,” he said, “and the very next minute, he might be doing a street hail.”