Now that the smart phone revolution has come to even the most technophobic stalwarts within our trade I thought it might be useful to share with you some of the apps that I find useful when working the Taxi
There are of course the obvious apps such as Hailo and Get Taxi.
Hailo now boast that they have 9500 registered drivers although it remains to be seen exactly how many of those “registered drivers” are active and actually use Hailo on a regular basis. Most Taxi drivers that I know who possess a smart phone have registered for Hailo although the number of drivers that I know that actually use the app on a regular basis is a quite low, if fact when I am logged in on a busy night it sometimes feels as though I am one of very few drivers available on the system due to being offered jobs that are well over a mile away and not really worth running for due to the distance from my current position.
Get Taxi is not an app in real terms from the drivers perspective as GT have opted for giving those who sign up a “driver box” as they call it, these boxes are useful for drivers who do not have a smart phone as it gives them the opportunity of getting some of the Taxi App action, personally I think that the driver box is to some extent limiting the number of drivers who are prepared to sign up for Get Taxi as many drivers would rather have just one device in their cab rather than have a clutter of devices taking up valuable space in the cockpit of a Taxi that has very little in the way of driver room. Just think if every driver app that came onto the market insisted that you use their device for their app the front of our taxis would probably end up looking like this picture!
I think that Get taxi would do a lot better in the driver recruitment area if they were to dump the driver box and go with both an Android and iPhone app which drivers could just download and sign up to, this would appeal more to those who do not want the front of their taxi cluttered with technology.
Another app that is worth a very favourable mention is Cab App http://cabapp.net . Cab App was originally launched as a rival to the other Taxi Apps but without the functionality of Automated Vehicle Location and the ability to match the passenger to the closest Taxi it never really took off in a big way, the app still accepts bookings from passengers and offers them to the drivers within the system but the jewel in its crown is the fantastic credit card facility that Peter Schive relaunched Cab App with. Accepting a credit card payment through Cab App is simplicity itself and the best part is that they pay their drivers 3 times per week so you never have to wait long to receive your money.
During the time that I spent on Dial A Cab I got used to have the digital A-Z facility on the DAC terminal and really missed have a scrollable A-Z to hand when I left the society. About a year later I developed my own system for in the Taxi which comprised of a Mini ITX PC linked to an 8″ Touch Screen monitor, on the PC I installed a very early version of the Digital A-Z and also had an amazing amount of MP3 files stored on the hard drive, I linked the PC to my cab stereo and Hey Presto! I could now listen to my MP3 collection while out working and never get bored with the music selection. I also installed a TV card in the Mini-ITX PC which meant I was able to watch and record TV while sitting around waiting on ranks.
At the same time another driver was busy developing a system which was later to become know as Cabbies Mate which is sold on its own small device and sells for around £300 but not many drivers know that Cabbies Mate is available in the App Store which can be downloaded to either and iPhone or iPad for the low price of £19.99 and I have got to say that when used on a full size iPad, Cabbies Mate is absolutely brilliant, it has points of interest installed in its database and when searching for a point it draws a line on the map from your current location to your destination point, well worth the money in my view.
TAXI INCOME & EXPENDITURE
Another app that I find invaluable these days is called Taxi Income & Expenditure, this is a very simple app developed by another Taxi driver for keeping a record of your daily takings, you can enter each fare as you complete it and the app keeps a running total of your days take. There is the facility of creating your own categories for your income and also your outgoings.
The App is also able to compile reports and also be as a fully downloadable set of books that you can present to your account if you so wished, this app makes life so much easier, far better than writing down every job to keep track of how much you have taken. Taxi Income and Expenditure is available for download in the app store, I am not sure at present if it is available on the Google Play store but will check for anyone that is interested.
LONDON TAXI METER
London Taxi Meter is a very simple app which is useful for pricing fares, it is quite accurate but cannot be relied on 100% as it uses google maps and routing which does not always take the shortest route between 2 locations, that said it can give a driver a good idea of the price a job may go so that and agreeable price can be negotiated with the passenger for those longer journey’s.
Very simple to use you just type in the required destination and the app works out the mileage between that and your current location and then gives you a summary with an estimated cost of the fare.
For navigation when taking on journey’s outside of the area covered by the knowledge I tend to prefer Tom Tom, I have ben a user of their products since the early days when it was downloaded onto a PDA which at the time was an O2 XDA (a predecessor to the modern day smart phones) Tom Tom went on to develop their own hardware but I have never actually owned one of their native devices. I did defect over to Garmin for a while with one of their Sat Nav in a box products but have since returned to Tom Tom when I found it on special offer in the App store for about 30 quid, it is regularly updated and the traffic information that I pay for through an “in app” purchase is extremely accurate.
If you are after a free Sat Nav app for your smart phone then look no further than Waze, originally developed a a sort of “social” Sat Nav App where users report such things as traffic delays, roadworks, accidents and even speed cameras, the traffic information is very accurate and the map on screen is scrollable which means you can scroll around and select the best route for you journey.
One of the funny things that Waze originally used to verify the of roads was that you could drive around being a sort of Pac Man and eating up the little dots in the road and gain points for your efforts, quite amusing!
Waze has recently been acquired by google and I assume that will soon be using Google Maps rather than the original in house designed maps Waze is probably the best Free Sat Nav app available today.
Do you have a favourite app that you use while out working the cab? Let me know and I will take a look and write a short review so that others might also find it useful!
Would you like SuperCabby to review your app? just get in touch and I will review your app and write a short piece about it, obviously if it is a paid for app I would need to get it for free to be able to write a review