(PRWeb UK) October 6, 2010
It may have taken a while but appears the Taxi and Private Hire Industry is about to get a major shakeup and join parity with the rest of the internet booking businesses. Price comparison websites have well been established on the internet such that the likes of Kayak (flights), TopTable (restaurants) and Shopping.com provides convenient one-stop shops for consumers searching for a good deal, and now it appears the Taxi and Private Hire Industry is about to catch up.
Catchacab.com boasts to be the UK’s first and largest real-time cab booking meta-search engine, allowing its users to compare ‘live’ prices from hundreds of cab operators and book taxis, minicabs or airport transfers instantly. They have ambitiously taken on the daunting task of being the intermediary that brings the UK’s Taxi and Private Hire Industry online (over 12,000 companies) which they claim is the last major sector within the travel industry not to have a consolidated internet presence.
The monumental task facing Catchacab.com clearly isn’t lost on its founder and current CEO, Ike Orunta: “The taxi and private hire industry are mostly made up of small companies rooted in customary values at the heart local communities. It used to be relatively easy to run a minicab company on pen and paper (and of course the drivers) however technology today means even they have to innovate to stay competitive and in tune with their customers. It going to be a big challenge to change people’s booking habits [of picking up a phone when they need a cab] but they already use the internet and smart phones to book flights and hotels, so we’re sure this won’t faze them”.
Catchacab.com is unique as it operates in real time - and not by email - meaning that you can make a booking to be picked up right away. You simply enter where you want to be picked up from and where you would like to go, and it instantly pings multiple nearby cab operators on their desktops simultaneously by using software Catchacab makes available to them. Prices and [pickup] availability are then displayed back to you as soon as each cab operator responds, allowing you to compare the aggregated results and select which cab office you would like to book with for an instant confirmation - all on the same page. Very Slick!!
So isn’t this just primed for a smart phone app? Ike Orunta addresses this further: “Catchacab for iphone will be released around the third week in October. Right now we have just launched the Catchacab.com website (1st October 2010) and are currently working with our service providers to get them comfortable with handling real time bookings as this is new technology for most of them. We expect the iphone app to be popular and so they should be up to speed to handle its traffic when that is launched”.
Ike goes on to explain that the iphone app will have all the bells and whistles including GPS & cell-site locator and will be loaded with thousands of points of interests. Coverage is currently limited to in and around London at present though Catchacab claims to already have a growing list of several hundred cab operators across the UK, which they rapidly plan on covering. He also talks further down the line of introducing a customer loyalty scheme called ‘CabMiles’ which he wittily dubbed “the industry’s first frequent cabber mileage program”.
All sounds interesting. Let’s see if he can pull it all off.