As another international player makes an entry to the virtual Canadian taxi stand, the market for apps that let you hail a limo or cab with a tap is starting to look a bit crowded.
San Francisco startup Uber Technologies Inc. forged the model for slick mobile applications to summon private cars in a flash and the premise has been picked up by many others and extended to regular taxis as well.
From lost drivers to lost receipts, questionable times of arrival to questionable smells, cab rides are the bane of busy professionals.
But a tiny Toronto firm called HireWinston is making taxis 2.0 with an app that hails luxury town cars at the tap of a touch-screen. It allows users to track a car’s route using GPS, sends a text message on the driver’s arrival, and even bills a rider’s credit card—avoiding the fumble for change at a trip’s end.
If we’ve mostly become accustomed to technology’s propensity for disrupting formerly physical businesses—music, film etc.—it’s still refreshing and surprising to see it happened to activities that, by their very nature, have to remain physical.
Take taxis, for example. Though it would doubtless be fantastic to press a button on a smartphone and teleport to a destination (until Apple gets its act together), we obviously still need to get in to a cab to go places—and sometimes even speak to someone to call one in, too.