From the user end, the Ingogo app allows you to hail a cab using your smartphone. An interactive map shows you the cab approaching and the driver can call you direct to tell you he’s about to arrive. If it looks like he’s getting lost you can also call the driver. It’s certainly reassuring to be able to see where the taxi is and to be given a real-time estimate of an arrival time. The only frustration is that your job might not be picked up by the closest cab and so when you thought you’d get the taxi just around the corner it turns out to be the one seven minutes away. I’m sure that is also the case when you use a phone-call to make a booking, but it changes the vibe of the thing when you see it on a map. Interestingly the booking process offers you the opportunity to incentivise the driver to pick you up quickly by adding an additional fee, although that wasn’t something I tried.
When the taxi arrives you tell the app you’re in and then you can elect to pay the fare through the Ingogo . There are several advantages to that approach. The first is that you have a record of payments. Then there’s the simplicity of just pressing the ‘pay’ button. Finally Ingogo doesn’t charge the exorbitant credit-card fees that you normally get stung with in a taxi. It would be nice, however, if the amounts came directly off the meter, or were properly itemised; as it is you still have to rely on the driver adding in booking fees, tolls, and so on – a magical process which always leaves me uncertain.
From the taxi-driver’s point of view, Ingogo offers them a better commission rate than they get from the traditional companies. Ingogo also provides taxi drivers with their own payment terminals based on smartphones.
Ingogo is in many ways similar to the Paypal app I reviewed last week. There is something reassuring and simple in being able to pay so quickly via your phone, and generating a virtual paper trail while doing so. In the context of taxis in particular there are lots of good reasons you might want to be able to track back to the taxi you were in – a forgotten umbrella being an excellent starting point.
Overall my experience of using Ingogo was good in spite of a couple of technical hitches on the way. I appreciated being able to see my taxi approaching and liked being able to pay wirelessly without handing my credit card over. I can easily see myself using Ingogo again.
GiS were provided with $25 credit to try out the Ingogo app.
ingogo - The Free Taxi AppView in ITunes. $free