The London Taxi App Race

According to TfL, there are over 23,000 black cabs operating in London, collectively generating nearly £1B in annual turnover. However, black cabbies typically spend up to half of their time driving empty and looking for jobs… until @tweetalondoncab,  a not for profit service, launched early July 2009 – you could tweet and a cab pulled up to your location. Since then the smartphone app has become the driving force with cabapp launching in October and Hailo in November 2011. It’s quite a crowded market.

We are already fans of Hailo but if you have a Blackberry (the dreaded ‘launching-soon App’) you end up having to carry around an iPad to use the service. It’s not that accurate for location pick-up – no problem as you can call the friendly driver. With four thousand of London’s black cabs signed up. We’ve even been serenaded by a Sinatra-singing cabbie through Hailo. They’ve even promised improve the taxi-riding experience in New York, Chicago, Toronto, Boston and Dublin.

The Taxi App Race is heating up.

Stalwarts like Addison Lee have their fans and haters. For us, great for a fancy car and patient chauffeur. Dial-a-cab you can book ahead, but there’s a run in charge of up to £4.20 and a £2 booking fee before you’ve even got in. We’ve had so many ‘runs ins’ with Dial-a-Cab as to almost need therapy.  BlackCabs offer a capped price to the  London airports and a 30% discount if your journey matches one of the cabbies going on their own way home.

We hear that GetTaxi has released Version 2.0 of its Android app which is available on Blackberry. It promises that if you don’t know the exact pick-up address you can tag yourself to nearby café, bar or nightclub. There is a taxi miles loyalty scheme; you can see the driver’s previous rating;  use the app seamlessly in Israel, UK and Russia and you can pre-book taxis (for the next day/week). There’s even an in app referral scheme with rewards; Facebook and Twitter Connect and, like Hailo, it’s now free.

Get Taxi Payment Screen

Get Taxi Payment Screen

The radar feature, rather like that at an airport control tower, scans the whole of London so that if you are in W1 you can see nearby cabs and tens of cabs as far as East Finchley. And now the cabby can even see you – as you’re encouraged to upload your own mugshot onto your profile.

So we’ll will give Get Taxi a go and let you know.

If you have any comments on these taxi apps, please add your thoughts below.


  1. […] till all without having to unload their bags, “digitising” the athlete with Nike FuelBand,  taxi apps such as Hailo, a convincing two-way conversation between the child and the toy and augmented […]

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