TaxiZapp is a taxi hailing application accessed via the Internet or GNSS-enabled smartphones. The application enables potential passengers to locate available taxis registered to the TaxiZapp system in their area. TaxiZapp comprises two components: one for taxi drivers, and one for passengers. Both will be available for download from the TaxiZapp website or app stores. The application is free to passengers, but taxi drivers pay by buying “credits” for a defined number of days’ usage.
Potential passengers “hail” a taxi simply by pressing a button within the application and entering their destination and fare details. Through the application, the five nearest taxi drivers receive a message that they have been “hailed” and can view the basic journey details. They then indicate whether they wish to accept this hail – specifying the time it will take to reach the passenger – or they can reject the fare. From drivers who respond to the request, the system determines who is quickest and closest and then allocates the fare.
Only after this allocation are the passenger and driver’s full details visible to one another. The allocated taxi driver then drives towards the passenger, who can watch the taxi approach on a map while he or she waits.
TaxiZapp utilises GNSS capabilities within smartphones to geo-locate both passengers and taxi drivers, then uses geo-spatial calculations to match the nearest drivers to passengers requesting a taxi. When a passenger “hails” a taxi, their geo-coordinates are sent to the TaxiZapp servers. A list of the nearest points of interest and street names is returned to the user, who confirms his or her exact location. To achieve this, two different databases are accessed, ensuring an accurate match of geo-coordinates to postcodes. The driver’s location is also tracked and regularly updated, permitting its display on a map.
The drivers’ application is intended for use by both independent taxi drivers and taxi companies as a new method of marketing and an additional means of service management; a white label version is also available to taxi companies. The passenger application, meanwhile will appeal to those between 16 and 50 years of age. It is mainly designed for those who wish to hail taxis for immediate use, but a booking option will be available. The applications have worldwide potential, but Europe will be the focus of our marketing efforts, which will commence with a UK roll out in autumn 2010.
- Pay-as-you-go system; credits refunded if no fares
- Fewer “empty” miles leads to fuel savings
- Passenger details supplied
- Instant availability for work following login; control over working hours
- Record of work
- Europe-wide brand
- Quick access to nearest available taxi
- Record of all journeys undertaken, address book for storing locations
- Details of driver and vehicle supplied, can be forwarded to a nominated person
- Favourite drivers list
- One application can be used Europe-wide
- No speech required