You travel to a new place. To get to your hotel or an office you hail a taxi thinking that they can find your destination better than you – a stranger – might. It should only take about fifteen minutes you’ve been told but the taxi takes twice that.
Have you been fleeced?
It’s not uncommon in some parts of the world for taxi drivers to take the scenic route or the long way around so that the fare increases. How can you argue unless you know the route having taken it before?
An American company, 2 Hit Wonders, has developed a free mobile phone app that may help you. Called Taxi-Turvi it follows the taxi route as the driver delivers you to the destination and then draws the route the cab driver should have taken – showing both routes side-by-side so you can see whether you have been treated fairly. Then you can remonstrate with the driver and demand a cheaper fare or report him to the authorities and let them argue on your behalf.
But it’s American you cry. Does it work in the UK or Europe? I e-mailed Audrey Overstreet of 2 Hit Wonders to ask just that. She told me that users had tried it in parts of West London and Westminster, Uxbridge, Liverpool, Manchester and parts of Scotland and Wales, all successfully so this app is one that is worth downloading. I will be.
And did I mention that this app is free so it will cost you nothing to download.
It works by harnessing GPS facilities so theoretically it should work anywhere in the world. But until everywhere has been tested there might be a black spot somewhere. And if GPS doesn’t function… Passengers can also input the taxi driver’s permit number or cab number to record any trip details they wish to share with future passengers. At the end of the journey, passengers can choose to rate their driver’s “friendly factor,” and then post all their experiences onto Facebook.
As Audrey says, “…the app will bring accountability to an industry that is notorious for duping unsuspecting tourists.”
Oh, and if you have missed it, I’ll mention it once more. This is a free app.
Do let us know how you get on with it.
You can download the app by going to Apple iTunes http://bit.ly/UkRq9E.