Applications Opinion

Get Taxi — come on, I just can’t wait!

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I’m a huge, huge fan of OpenTable, the restaurant booking service because, fundamentally, it gives me control and clarity. I know that if I book at table — it’s booked. I don’t have to speak to anybody. I just click a few buttons. I love it.

Compare this with the standard way of booking a sodding taxi? It’s shit, isn’t it?

Only last night I had to call a cab. I used the local firm.

It’s a flipping nightmare. I hate it. I REALLY HATE it. It’s the inefficiency that really gets me.

Here’s how things normally work:

ME: [ring the firm] — they LITERALLY are managed by a guy with a piece of paper and a pencil

THEM: [ Loads of background noise, the pinging of a microwave ] Mumble, mumble … Taxis?

It’s always like this. It often sounds like the taxi office is in the middle of a football match.

ME: “Hi there, can I book a taxi please?”

How stupid is this? I can’t think of anything else to say. I mean, OBVIOUSLY I want a sodding taxi. But I can’t just issue a demand immediately.

THEM: “Yeah?”


ME: “Can you pick me up at 8.45pm at Windsor, going to Marlow?”

THEM: Mumble… Mumble… “Yes. See you then sir.”

Right. But, ok… did you, did you get the right time? Have you made a note of it correctly? Who’s going to pick me up? Do you HAVE my number? How do, who… what kind of car is it? Do you know there are two stations in Windsor and when I say ‘Windsor’ I mean the ‘Eton & Riverside’ one?


That’s what I need to do. I just have to shrug, think to myself, “What a shit service,” and then get on with my day.

Every taxi firm is the same. Some are a little bit more efficient. But broadly speaking, it’s precisely the same experience.

It’s in total need of a revamp, this whole system. I just want to point and click. I want complete control, total clarity — I want an OpenTable for taxis.

And you know what, there’s one coming to the UK: Get Taxi.

What’s exciting about Get Taxi is that it looks like they’re going all out. Big guns. Lots of money, proper infrastructure — a serious, serious play to completely overhaul the way the taxi industry works.

And, of course, by ‘overhaul’, I mean the judicious application of mobile technology to the industry, backed by the necessary infrastructure to support all the players.

Sarah Lacy of TechCrunch picked the news up and offers a good bit of background about the company and the founder.

I’ve written a lot about this kind of thing. Get Taxi is quite possibly a key step toward a better, brighter mobile world. Witness, for example, this post I wrote about ‘trusted context network‘ with an eye on the taxi marketplace. I wrote about the ‘promise of mobile approaching‘ in respect to UberCab (a US competitor to Get Taxi). I also covered TaxiStop recently — I’m not sure how they’re getting on though. Finally, getting the taxi challenge right is a cornerstone of my ‘Cannes Doctrine‘ on the Future of Mobile.

So bring it on. Let’s see what they’ve got to offer.

Hearing about Get Taxi has made my day.

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.

9 replies on “Get Taxi — come on, I just can’t wait!”

Some taxi firms are better than others, to be fair.  I know the sort you mean, but our local one in Newbury is pretty good.  They’ve got a system so you get a text detailing the vehicle type, registration and the driver’s name just before it arrives and they’ve got some clever centrally controlled GPS thing going on. 

I’ve always thought it just needs an app front-end directly into their booking system and it’ll be perfect.  I can see them being quite keen to take up a service like Get Taxi – let’s hope so, look forward to it!

It would certainly be better than the usual answer to the question “I phoned a while ago now, where is the taxi?” “5 minutes away” .. it’s always 5 minutes away, and after looking at the concept it will certainly be a hit. Its just a shame that where I live there are at least 30 different taxi firms after your business…

Have you tried Addison Lee’s app Ewan? Granted it’s London only, but it’s a fine example of how taxi booking SHOULD be done.

Paul, I haven’t actually used it *myself* but I’ve witnessed it — I totally
agree, it’s excellent. My only issue is when you get out into the

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