San Francisco taxi company adopts smartphone app as new name, abandoning Depression-era roots

A San Francisco taxi company is kicking its 82-year-old brand to the curb and renaming itself after a smartphone app in the latest sign of how mobile technology is changing the way people get a ride.

The transformation dumps DeSoto Cab's Depression-era identity in favor of Flywheel, an app that helps traditional taxis compete against increasingly popular ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.

As part of the makeover, DeSoto's 220 taxis are being repainted from navy blue, turquoise and white to red.

The newly minted Flywheel cabs will still adhere to taxi regulations. Among other things, that means Flywheel's cabs can't change their prices based on rider demand.

The Flywheel app will continue to book rides for other San Francisco taxis.

The companies did not release deal terms.