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Cabwise – Don’t take an illegal cab home

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I’ve been seeing these ads on bus shelters and around the place for a while now and I keep making mental note to blog about them.

It’s a simple offering — at 2am in the morning when you really, really want to get home, it’s far too easy to give in to the hords of drivers kerb-crawling around London with their windows open shouting ‘mineeee-cab?’ Far too easy, especially if you’re slightly (or totally) drunk.

Now and again, shock-tactic adverts have been used by the authorities, specifically aimed at young women, encouraging them not to take unlicensed cabs by threatening rape. Hard hitting, but, I hope, effective. Although, consider this fact (from the Cabwise site):

Each month 10 women in London are raped or assaulted by men pretending to be cab drivers.

It’s all very well telling folk that they shouldn’t take an unlicensed minicab. But what are you to do at 2am when you’re walking by a deserted Euston Station and all the last trains home have all since departed? Well, turn your attention to the Cabwise poster on the bus shelter!

Text HOME to 60835 and the service will respond with the numbers of one local taxi firm and two licensed mini cab operators.

Alas it’s not free — 35p plus your standard network rate (so almost 50p in total) and, it’s not available on Virgin or 3.

More at www.london.gov/cabwise/.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

18 replies on “Cabwise – Don’t take an illegal cab home”

Why is it not available on Virgin or 3? Premium SMS exists on both these networks, so there is no excuse. Schemes like this require ubiquity to succeed.

This service has been around for a while – and the problem with it a while ago is that it basically didn’t work… no cabs ever responded. Have they overcome this? Has anyone tried it recently?

Will

utter utter crap. not the service concept which is a great use of mobile technology. But the fact that our local government is too tight fisted to pay a decent sms aggregator to add Three and Virgin. In fact this is so utterly unbelievable that I cannot quite believe it. When keywords on shortcodes which work across ALL UK networks are available for £25 per year there is absolutely no reasaon why this situation should exist.

Will the mobile company providing this please stand up and explain…

steve/itagg.com

I publically challenge londongov and the provider of this service to explain why Virgin and Three taxi users are not being offered the same service that might improve their safety?

I would also ask them to explain why there is no information on that bus-stop poster regarding the premium rate cost of the service or the fact that Virgin/Three users are excluded (and indeed if they try the service at a time of night when they are worried for their safety, that it will appear to them that the service has failed and let them down)?

steve/itagg.com

So it’s mblox and kizoom that I should be speaking to then? I’ll ask them for a comment.

The *only* issue here is that it appears from the picture of the advert that there is no visible pricing on display. Ewan, was pricing at the bottom of the advert?

Will, Steve, I’m surprised by your comments; as ‘mobile experts’ you should be able to tell that this is a LBS service, and you’ll obviously both be aware that neither Virgin or Three offer LBS as a wholesale offering. A quick check on the Three end user site confirms the code is live on Three and registered to Kizoom, and it’s possible although I’ve not tried it, that they return a message stating you can’t use the service if a user texts in from Three. The code is unlikely to be live on Virgin given the inability to differentiate between Virgin and T-Mobile on an inbound SMS.

If their pricing is not clear, then this should be cut off straight away, If the taxi info is rubbish then fair enough comment, but having just tried the service out (and without calling the cab numbers) it worked really well.

Ewan if you want comments, you could ask Thee and Virgin why they don’t offer LBS. While you’re at it could you ask O2 why they don’t offer Voice and Video codes 🙂

@ njar, I’ve definitely seen the pricing on one of their other ads in the past few days whilst in the West End, so think they’re generally compliant. Re: voice and video combined codes, is that still rumbling on? Remember writing a blog entry about it a while back.. Innovation? We’ve heard of it 😉

Hi Alex,

Yep well I would have hoped they’d have the pricing sorted out. At 35p plus network charges it seems like a really good value proposition.

Yeah O2 still not playing ball. A large large shame as their reluctance/inability to launch has held back a raft of innovation and some would-be great mobile value propositions.

And you know that it is LBS how njar? Oh of course, from the bit of text on the poster that says “by using this service you agree for us to look up your location”. That’ll be the text right next to the text that says “this service costs 35p”.

You know what, I’ll go and take another photo and check to see if the terms & conditions are displayed!

Steve and njar – handbags at ten paces.. 😉

It’s definitely on the other ads, I remember seeing it in the past few days and thinking 35p was a strange rate to charge. Ok so maybe not strange, but more used to seeing 25p, 50p, £1, etc.

I know it’s LBS Steve, because when I texted in I got back numbers for Taxi companies in Chiswick!

In terms of whether this advert mentions that the handset will be looked up, I was kind of assuming it’d be where the SMS pricing info was. If it isn’t on there at all, then it’s not exactly best practice, but at the same time the LBS Code of Practice is poorly written and open to differing interpretations. In an ideal world they should mention this. Some carriers would care, others wouldn’t.

Alex – 😉

njar – Sorry, I just get veryfrustrated at seeing services where a lack of care has been applied to industry regulations; and it makes me feel why on earth should companies like mine and yours spend so much effort on hand holding clients through regulations when others steam in and ignore it all. Just makes you throw your hands up in despair…hence the frustrated posts!! ;-(

Lol.. I think our banter is always healthy, and I never take any of it very personally!

I totally agree by the way..

Oooo boys boys boys, all this fuss over a simple handset lookup!

Yes, it’s LBS. Hence it’s not available to Three and Virgin.

Steve hon, not all clients do what we tell them over pricing regs, I haven’t had a run of clients _ever_ whom have all played industry ball despite threats to cut them off or stick their campaigns where the sun doesn’t shine. I bet Nick hasn’t either. And I doubt, until ICSTIS or whatever they call themselves today poke you, you have noticed either. It’s the way of the world, and we can tell them how to advertise until we’re blue in the face, but once their publicity is out, it’s out.

Cabwise now works with all the networks (including Virgin)

However, you have to do something slightly different if you are a 3 customer or on an overseas network – http://www.tfl.gov.uk/termsandconditions/7163.a… :

Overseas and 3 networks can now also access the Cabwise service by texting their location (street name and partial postcode e.g. Victoria St SW1) to the number +44 07797 800 000.

3 Network
The cost of this service will be 35p per enquiry plus your standard text message rate.

Cabwise now works with all the networks (including Virgin)

However, you have to do something slightly different if you are a 3 customer or on an overseas network – http://www.tfl.gov.uk/termsandconditions/7163.a… :

Overseas and 3 networks can now also access the Cabwise service by texting their location (street name and partial postcode e.g. Victoria St SW1) to the number +44 07797 800 000.

3 Network
The cost of this service will be 35p per enquiry plus your standard text message rate.

Cabwise now works with all the networks (including Virgin)

However, you have to do something slightly different if you are a 3 customer or on an overseas network – http://www.tfl.gov.uk/termsandconditions/7163.a… :

Overseas and 3 networks can now also access the Cabwise service by texting their location (street name and partial postcode e.g. Victoria St SW1) to the number +44 07797 800 000.

3 Network
The cost of this service will be 35p per enquiry plus your standard text message rate.

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