The big smoke, the great wen—call it what you will: London has been a major metropolis for two millennia now. Every year, millions of tourists visit London, looking to experience what the UK's largest city has to offer. And L-Town doesn't disappoint: be it history galore (the London Stone, located in central London on Cannon Street, is said to be the stone from which King Arthur drew the sword), magnificent architecture, gardens and sites (Kew Gardens is breathtaking at this time of year), music, theatre and art (too much to try and sum up) or full-on Brit culture (tea! crumpets! scones!), visitors are sure to get their fill when in London.
...Except for when it comes to finding a taxi when you're standing in the drizzling rain at 2AM after all the pubs have closed. Just try haling a taxi car when you most need one, go on, I dare you!
I was recently in London and let me tell you that I speak from experience when I say that sometimes looking for a free taxi in central London is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Fortunately, some of my London based friends suggested I use Get Taxi, an app that allows users to order taxis online or using their smartphones. More details after the jump.
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Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy Tablet
After downloading the application, enter a phone number and, optionally, your email address. A code will then be sent to your phone; use it to log in. Once that is done you will see a map with your location marked using GPS. You have three options: hit Get Taxi if that's what you wish to do, press Booking Options in order to fill in your specifications or go to Rides in order to view previous itineraries.
I tried to order a cab using the Get Taxi on three occasions and was not disappointed. Once you've ordered a cabbie – who receives a notification of your request on their dashboard – s/he will respond to the unit, meaning that you will be able to see where the taxi is on your map, as well as how long it will take for the taxi to get to where you are. Furthermore, the taxi driver's details – including his or her name and photo, and license plate of the vehicle – are displayed. I very much appreciate that the Get Taxi team have done such a great job at incorporating such a useful and reliable safety feature. According to the app's developers, the cabbies' details are double-checked in order to ensure that Get Taxi users travel safely.
Another cool feature: if you happen to not have any cash on you, there's also an option to pay using a credit card. One of the nice taxi drivers I spoke with confirmed that the amount of the fare is then wired to his account.
As mentioned, seeing as I don't live in London I was only able to use the app three times. I was in central London, and on all three occasions a black taxi pulled up within minutes. Some friends and colleagues who are based in London tell me that Get Taxi is expanding, and that the more peripheral zones are also covered – albeit perhaps not as densely – as central London.
There's also a reward system for frequent users, so-called 'Taxi Miles', rewarding faithful Get Taxi users with discounted fares and even free rides. Again, seeing as I am not yet a long-term user of Get Taxi due to the fact that I'm not currently based in London, my jury's out on how well the reward programme works. Comment below if you're any wiser than I am!
Get Taxi is easy to use, and the developers have done a good job at ensuring users will be in safe hands, which is especially relevant in light of illegal car services in London. The app is pleasantly easy to use—and important criterium, especially when feeling a bit tipsy in the middle of the night, when your bed is just one cab ride away, and all you need do in order to call a taxi is press one single button.
The one drawback is that Get Taxi isn't available in more locations; currently there are London, Moscow and Israel editions, and according to the developers New York and Paris editions are in the works. Here's hoping the app will go global, one city at a time!
Screen & Controls
As mentioned, navigating Get Taxi is child's play. The UI is extremely user friendly and has a clean look about it.
The design is simple and straight-forward, adding to the app's user friendliness.
Speed & Stability
Get Taxi is a smooth ride all the way.
Get Taxi is available for free download from the App Center and Play Shop.