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Well it seems that the race for App supremacy in the London Taxi Trade really sped up this week with the launch on LDNTaxiAPP. Most of you who have taken an interest in this area of Taxi App’s which could obviously enhance the our working lives and provide a valuable alternative stream of work will already be aware of the offering from TaxiZapp and the much awaited impending release of the TLC/TaxiStop App.

TaxiZapp were the first to enter the market with their app being available for download from the iPhone App store for a few months now, the App is quite good and offers most of the necessary features that you would expect from a Taxi hailing App. The problem with this app is that the company behind it seem to lack the knowledge of how to promote the app to the Licensed Taxi Driver here in London, this combined with the very loose form of vetting for driver subscriptions leaves it somewhat lacking. That said the GUI is intuitive and easy to use even for the worst technophobe! The other problem is that the trade in London have not really embraced this app in any great numbers with just a few drivers playing with it over the last few weeks. The App works on the basis of credits, you buy credits and it uses 1 credit per 24 hours that you are logged into the system. At present there has not been any work coming through the system so TaxiZapp are not charging for the credits but are giving a number of credits free which are then replenished until such time that there is sufficient work coming through on the system. Once they start charging the price per credit will be from  £2.71 per day or 24 hour period dependant upon how many credits you buy in advance. The following pricing was taken from the TaxiZapp website:

3 Credits = £15.00
7 Credits = £24.50
14 Credits = £45.00
28 Credits = £76.00

TaxiZapp state on their website that if a driver does not receive any work during a 24hr period then the credit will be refunded to the drivers account, but as you will see from the above pricing using this App could work out to be very expensive, even more expensive than belonging to one of London’s radio circuits.

The next offering has come from our own TweetaLondonCab team who have partnered up with TaxiStop,  there is not much yet known about this App except by the Core Team of TLC. We are promised that this App is going to be something special with TaxiStop providing real time taxi booking and driver management system. TaxiStop is part of the Medianet Group who claim to be the World’s largest producer of award winning mobile applications supporting over 2000 applications on 5000 devices with compatibility across all OS platforms sold in 60 Countries so I was somewhat disappointed when I eventually found their website which in my opinion is somewhat poor for a company who makes such claims! That said I am sure that the TLC Core Team have done their homework regarding this company and are satisfied of their integrity and level of competence and if the App lives up to the hype then I am really looking forward to seeing it’s release. Apparently Beta testing will start very soon with the App being offered to the rest of the drivers of TLC sometime in May. Pricing has not yet been confirmed but it is hoped to be kept competitive.

Now the latest offering has come from with an app available for download from the App store, at present the app is only available on the iPhone with Android and Blackberry versions due for release soon. This app is a partnership between a London taxi Driver, a Software Developer and an Application Coder. I recently downloaded this app and I must say that I was very impressed at the amount of thought that has gone into it’s development. All of the basic elements of a good App are present with a lot of thought gone into the driver sign up process. I was a little sceptical as to where or how the drivers details would be stored so I emailed the company and was assured that drivers details are stored on the server only and will not be used for any other purpose except for the LDNTaxiApp. The App is free to download from the Apple App store on the iPhone and it is free to use at present, I have asked the question regarding charging and the Developer said that they are looking for sponsorship and advertising but they cannot rule out having to charge the driver a small subscription charge. This App seems to offer everything that is needed for a smart phone type of Taxi Hail, there is a 2 way messaging facility built into the App so that the driver and customer can communicate with each other and the facility for the customer to know the drivers name a registration number so that they get into the right taxi which will reassure lone female travellers.

So which app do you go with? well my heart tells me to wait for the TLC/TaxiStop App but business sense tells me to go with LDNTaxiApp as they have the right name, are only offering the service to London Taxi Drivers and are the first London only Taxi app available at present! Now the good thing for me is that I really don’t have to make a choice at the moment as I use an iPhone and the beauty about the iPhone (assuming that you are using and iPhone 3Gs or newer) is that you can have as many of these Apps as you like all running at the same time so you will be able to subscribe to as many as you like offering multiple streams of work, I am not sure whether the same applies to the Blackberry or Android type handsets. Obviously once all of these Apps start to make a charge to the drivers for subscription then I will have to make a choice and the obvious choice will be to go with the App which is more financially viable for me personally which means the App which secures me the most work and the most money which after all is what we all drive a Taxi for.

So now the race is really on to see which of these offerings becomes the King of the London Taxi Apps and this will depend on quite a few factors, number 1 we need the public to use these apps, 2, we need the drivers to use the apps and 3 the cost to the driver of using the app, it is no good having a cheap app if the general public are not using it so it is going to be down  to the people behind these apps to make sure that they gain ground on the competition and create the largest customer base and ensure that they have sufficient drivers to meet customer demand.

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