[telecom] The Push to Make Cab Rides Smarter
- From: Monty Solomon <monty@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 00:18:55 -0400
The Push to Make Cab Rides Smarter
By JOSHUA BRUSTEIN
May 11, 2012
When it comes to technology, 2007 was the last big year for taxis.
That year, New York City began requiring that cabs be fitted with
devices so that customers could pay with credit cards and with GPS
devices so that they could track their progress on touch screens in
the back. (Cabbies went on strike twice before the gadgets were
finally installed.) Also that year, Apple introduced the iPhone,
although the cab connection was not immediately apparent.
It became clear, though, as developers created a number of
taxi-related products. Report a Taxi allows riders to complain about
bad drivers directly to the Taxi and Limousine Commission (or praise
good ones) with an iPhone app. The ratio is about four complaints for
every compliment, the company says. (Riders can also complain to
Facebook or Twitter.) Another app, Cab Sense, used the data being
collected by in-cab computers to put together a map showing which
corners are best for hailing a ride, although it has not updated its
data since 2010.
The most ambitious projects are smartphone apps that book and pay for
cars directly. Uber, which began operating in New York last year, has
become a darling of the technology industry for an app that allows a
rider to call for a car and charge it directly to an online account.
It has spurred a number of competitors. Taxi Magic , which operates a
similar service in 35 cities, introduced a new app last week called
Sedan Magic, bringing it to New York for the first time.
***** Moderator's Note *****
As an Engineer at Verizon, I flew into LaGuardia on a regular
basis. The company had a trip marshall at the airport who would direct
employees to whichever transports were available, matching passenges to
Sometimes, we'd be put into cabs, sometimes limos. The cab drivers
always complained that the "Tattlers" their bosses put on the cars
deprived them of the chance to use their experience to find the
fastest route. I used to make jokes about how I always wanted to see
Grant's tomb, but I had to stop because most of them took offense.
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