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Mobile Phone Taxi Beacon

A set of applications to connect taxi drivers and people looking for cabs
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Finding a taxi can be troublesome at times. Your choices are usually limited to calling a single taxi company and waiting up to half an hour, or attempting to hail one at a busy intersection.

A much easier option would be to launch a mobile phone application which uses your phone's built in GPS and internet connectivity to communicate your location to taxi operators. Individual taxi operators would use a companion application which would notify them of people nearby looking for a cab. Taxi company dispatchers could also monitor a web application to manually locate people near their company's cabs. Once a driver or dispatcher has located a person nearby, they would "claim" them and the application would mark them as such to prevent other drivers from attempting to pick them up. After claimed a potential passenger, the potential passenger would be notified of the taxi number and be given an estimated time of arrival. The application would also display and optionally dial the passenger's phone number to the taxi driver to allow communication if there are questions.

In order to discourage abuse by both taxi drivers and users, a feedback system would be added to allow both drivers and passengers to rate each other. Drivers which have claimed a person but do not pick them up would receive negative feedback, as would users who are not present when the cab arrives.

Once the taxi arrives the user would mark the trip as successful and the application would quit in order to conserve battery power. Additionally, the application would automatically detect entry into a cab and switch off automatically when a rate of speed faster than 10mph is detected.

The costs of running such a system would be minimal and could be paid for with location aware advertisements which display unobtrusively on the user's device while they are waiting.

ftzdomino, Dec 07 2008


       Okay until I write an application to "claim" as many passengers as I have taxis. With no time limit on pick up, all I have to do is say I showed up. Dispute resolution would be pointless.
phoenix, Dec 07 2008

       Yeah, delete the "claim" system. It adds no value. I'd still jump in the first cab I saw. As a taxi driver/dispacher, If someone else claimed a fare that was reasonably close to me, I'd still bee-line it there hoping to poach the fare. Just leave this as an open ended beacon and I'd say it'd work better. If you had a municipality where there was a taxi-monopoly, then it would be different.
Custardguts, Dec 08 2008


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