Taxis in the fast lane with smartphone technology
THE DUBLIN taxi industry is getting a high-tech makeover thanks to smartphones. Two companies have set up systems offering mobile phone users an easier way to hail cabs in the city.
Both offer peace of mind for commuters, using licensed drivers who have been thoroughly vetted.
WINI Cabs, which has been quietly rolling out its services in the city for the past few weeks, uses technology that links available taxis with customers using existing phone technology.
Some customers can be located via location data from the mobile network; others can use a smartphone app to book a taxi. Available drivers less than five minutes away can take the job.
The customer is then sent a text message that confirms the driver’s details, including the car and taxi licence number.
It also gives customers different options for paying, including charging it to credit cards, through cash or, in the future, even paying through their mobile phone bill.
Chief executive Paul O’Loughlin Kennedy said that about 400 taxis have been fitted with the WINI Cabs transceiver, and another 700 had signed up through the company’s website.
The company is charging drivers €2 a job that WINI sends to the driver for the first 500 jobs, after which it drops to €1.
Also ready to launch is Hailo, which will be officially unveiled today.
Devised by three London taxi drivers, Hailo matches passengers with licensed drivers registered with its system, allowing users to book and pay for journeys quickly and easily.
On booking through the app, customers are sent a picture of their driver and the roof sign, along with contact details and an approximate time for the car’s arrival at your given location.
When the driver arrives, customers are notified and the receipt for the journey can be emailed.
Hailo has already been rolled out in London, with more than 4,500 black cabs signed up.
The company established a Dublin office in April and currently employs 10 people.
However, research of the market began much earlier, with managing director Colm Ó Cuilleanáin explaining that he had been examining the suitability of Dublin for Hailo for some time.
It may be rolled to other Irish cities once the Dublin service was up and running, he said.
The company is also looking further afield, with teams currently examining the possibility of bringing Hailo to New York, Boston and Chicago later this year.
The app is free for both customers and drivers, with Hailo taking a commission from the drivers’ fares.
A third app is also aiming to make taxi fares more transparent for tourists both at home and abroad.
TaxiFair, which is available for the iPhone, shows the route your taxi has taken and the correct fare you should have been charged.
The creator of TaxiFair, Dubliner Kevin Fagan, is adding new cities to the app regularly.