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July 13, 2012

Feeding a Taxi Fare Obsession - Apps to the Rescue

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor

For those of you who are regular readers of my articles, you know that based on my New York area upbringing and residence, I have a taxi obsession. Last month I looked at the subject with an item on Israeli-based GetTaxi that is coming to New York City with its mobile app-based taxi service that helps you get a cab when you need one and pay for it conveniently.   I also mentioned that this has become a crowed space with the likes of Halio, Wini Cabs, Click A Taxi and a slew of others entering a very lucrative market in urban centers around the world.

This is all well and good, but while getting a taxi is an issue, we all have had the experience of literally being “taken for a ride,” i.e., having bill shock from being driven to a destination along a route that has no resemblance to the shortest or cheapest.   With this in mind, I have two apps to recommend, although the first one is not yet available in New York so I hope its developer gets a move on.

What’s fair is fare!

In the category of “you gotta love it!” is the TaxiFair app developed by Dublin, Ireland native Kevin Fagan. Annoyed by his English-born wife being taken advantage of by drivers who assumed she wouldn’t know better, and by faulty meters in general, the app shows users what route they had taken and calculates the correct fare for the route taken. It currently covers all of Ireland as well as London, and uses GPS, Google (News - Alert) Maps and local tariff information. Fagan is working on expanding his reach.

TaxiFair is available for €0.79 (US$ 1.23) from the App Store.

The next best thing to real time knowledge of the route you are being taken on is an app that works in New York and a slew of other places in the U.S., Europe and Asia is called Taxi Fare Finder.  This one, seen in the picture below, is plug and play. 

In fact, the beauty here is that Google Maps, whether you know your way around or new to the area, provides a nice, if not always perfect, route along with an estimated fare based on current pricing information. Be aware that if you are visiting New York City, the Yellow Cabs just got a 17 percent fare increase so visiting the site prior to your visit may not be completely accurate.

The only thing these apps cannot deal with is the real-time relationship you have with a driver. Since these apps are not tied into services that drivers subscribe to there is always the chance of a challenging discussion as to whose calculations are correct. However, fore-armed can be fore-warned. Happy cabbing!

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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