Is hailing a taxi a thing of the past?

written by Clare Ryan on September 3, 2010 in Startup News with 6 comments
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Imagine calling a taxi to pick you up at your exact location, telling the taxi driver where you want to go, paying the taxi driver, tipping the taxi driver, and arriving to your location in the shortest possible time. Nothing too extraordinary, right? Now, imagine the EXACT same scenario, without having to say a single word or pullout your wallet. Interested?

Imagine This:
1. Pull out your smartphone.
2. Open your taxi app.
3. Virtually “hail” a cab.
4. Immediately watch as a cab accepts your fare and proceeds to your exact location.
5. Enter the address of where you want to go into your phone.
6. Hop into the cab as it pulls up.
7. Watch the fare increase as you proceed to your destination.
8. When you arrive, pay the driver through PayPal or another online account.
9. Rate the taxi driver.
10. Hop out of the cab at your desired destination.

Now, there are a multitude of apps already out there with the ability to allow you to do just this. In San Francisco where DealMakerMedia is based, we are lucky to have two of the best options: Cabulous and UberCab.

Company Pitch for Cabulous: Cabulous is a smartphone application that makes it fast, easy, stress-free, and fun for passengers and taxi drivers to connect. Currently available on the iPhone and in the browser, Cabulous allows passengers to see the exact location of nearby taxis and to hail one with the touch of a button. The driver, in turn, is able to visually track his or her fare with a smartphone application – even if that passenger decides to walk down the block or around the corner. Passengers can even add drivers to their “Favorites” list and spot them the next time.

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*This is a service cab drivers can sign up for, and if they accept a Cabulous fare, they are charged $1.50 per day for every day they actually use the service. There is no additional fee for the passengers. When I told a long-time friend and taxi driver about this app he said, he said, “I think it looks really cool. I would like to use it now that I’ve seen it.” So, there’s some good news for Cabulous right there!

Cabulous is the creation of San Francisco based startup, “UpstartMobile.” The company was founded in 2009 and has received $620k in Series A funding. The CEO is John Wolpert.

Company Pitch for UberCab: UberCab is an on-demand car service that allows everyone to have a private driver experience through iPhone, SMS, and web based requests. We are a technology startup that has created a more efficient means of transportation, making your city more useful and more pleasurable to move around in. UberCab connects clients and our network of professional town car and limo drivers in the simplest most elegant way possible, and we do it at a fraction of the cost.

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*UberCab lets you connect with towncars to get a ride. The fare is 1.5 times that of a standard taxi, but you are getting to ride in escalades, limos, or luxury towncars as opposed to standard taxi cars.
UberCab was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco, CA. Their CEO is Ryan Graves and their business model is to take a percentage of every fare booked through UberCab.

So… what taxis are you riding in? Both the UberCab and Cabulous apps are free to download and offer very different services. Which service appeals to you? Why?

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