Jan 19, 2012
Hailing a Taxi Gets Easier
Hailing a cab has always been a fine, if somewhat vexing, art. Do you whistle? Wave? Step into the street? Show a little leg?
In Britain, things have changed radically on that score. GetTaxi has just launched its free consumer mobile app, enabling all smartphone users (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Nokia) to order a taxi at the tap of a button on their mobile device or via a Web interface. The company says its new app solves many of the pains associated with old-fashioned taxi ordering, including “stroppy call centres,” irritating hold music and the mysterious whereabouts of the supposedly on-the-way taxi.
Now you don’t even have to know where you are to summon a cab. The mobile app automatically locates you via GPS and issues your request to the closest available black taxis via GetTaxi's special driver units. A few seconds later, you are sent a confirmation containing the driver’s photo, personal and vehicle details; the cab’s estimated time of arrival; and a GoogleMap showing the taxi's real-time progress to the pickup address. You don’t get the driver’s astrological sign, his dining preferences or his marital status -- at least yet. These will arrive with the upcoming Date-the-Driver app. (Okay, not really.)
The app is free to download
and use, with no charges above the taxi meter. GetTaxi customers will be able
to pay by cash, credit card or by opening a personal account. They will also be
able to accumulate Taxi Miles, so they can be rewarded with points for journeys
taken or each time they share the app with a friend. Points will be redeemable
against gifts and, of course, free taxi rides.
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