Urban app users everywhere have waited, less than patiently, for a solution to one longstanding problem. For people who live in busy cities like New York or London, there are times when it is just impossible to find a taxi cab. The lunch or dinner rush, or the unexpected downpour leaves you scrambling for cover and desperate for a ride. But none can be found. Thanks to a fantastic new app called GetTaxi, this issue may soon disappear. It’s already been a huge success in Britain, Russia and Israel, and it is now coming to New York City.
Basically, GetTaxi gives users a simple way to order up a taxi right through their smartphone or computer. It’s a simple digital interface, and works almost instantly. Cab drivers that are signed up to take part in the service get notified that someone needs a cab, with a description of their exact location, and they can then choose to accept the fare. Users with the GetTaxi app will see their taxis progress in realtime through GPS tracking. There have been other startups looking to bring the power of technology to the massive need for taxis in New York. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission is taking applications from several different companies interested in making payment possible through mobile technology. But GetTaxi sees this as the first step in a complete transformation of the taxi industry.
According to a statement GetTaxi ‘s CEO, Jing Wang Herman, released to Mashable, the company expects to deliver a superior taxi experience. No more trying in vain to flag down a moving vehicle. All it will take is one click. It is clearly an idea whose time has come, and investors have jumped at the opportunity to get involved. To date, GetTaxi has received investments totaling $20 million, all for the rollout to New York City.
It’s much different from any traditional taxi service. GetTaxi won’t have a fleet of cars or dedicated drivers, but will add-on to what existing fleets are doing. Drivers sign up to be involved and receive simple training in the app and how the company would like clients to be served. And GetTaxi will have a 24-hour customer service center. Herman feels that with the okay from the Taxi and Limousine Commission, they’ll be able to launch seamlessly.
On top of the consumer-focused offerings, GetTaxi is also hot on the trail of the corporate business. They’ve created a company sign up, so employees and their guests can get taxi service through a dedicated account. It’s similar to having a phone plan or Netflix membership.
Once the company is approved by New York, they will still have to wait before they can be used by the city’s yellow cabs. Currently, they aren’t legally allowed to be booked remotely. But for other livery vehicles, a digital dispatcher should prove a far superior option to getting flagged down on the street and haggling over prices. It will put everyone on the grid, giving drivers the ability to lay out who they pick up in an order that makes sense. This will cut down on gas expenditures, and hopefully reduce the traffic that leads to the need for frequent brake bleeder service. But however long it takes to carry out, when it does come around millions of smartphone-enabled New Yorker’s should have something significant to celebrate.
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this guest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.