Posted by Jackie Judge on 8/11/09
Aren’t taxis so iconic to our culture? Think of all the movies, all the television series, that show people with arms outstretched, or fingers between their lips, whistling, hailing down that quintessential yellow cab, in its evolving form from curvaceous roundness to sharply boxy, to the modern sleek lines of a the predominant SUV and minivan taxis we see in most American cities today. What would Sex and the City be without Carrie Bradshaw yelling “TAXI!” in those desperate times of social avoidance? How would Collateral have painted such a bleak dichotomy between how we live our lives without grey-haired Tom Cruise philosophically dictating from the back seat of Jamie Foxx’s taxi? And, most of all, who can forget Robert De Niro as the bitterly lonely and increasingly violent Travis Bickle in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver? We use taxis as the extreme transportation convenience, from getting to Manhattan from JFK airport quickly, to getting from place to place on a nightlife spree.
When you live in a city, taking a taxi is always the optimal way of getting home after a round of bar hopping, or simply after meeting friends for dinner and wine. Using the iPhone app Rocket Taxi by Edovia Inc beats waiting for the bus while intoxicated, especially knowing the bus has unflattering fluorescent lighting and crowded, plastic seating. Yet another location-based service, Rocket Taxi uses your current location to find all the taxi companies in your vicinity willing to pick you and your entourage up (granted, if you’re in a city, most likely all the cab companies will be available, and it becomes a matter of bidding wars), and allows you to call them from the app. The best part, really, is the Trip Calculator function, which maps out a route for you (your starting point, bedraggled at the corner of Mission and 16th and smelling of Vodka tonics, and your end point, cushy apartment with comfy bed, several neighborhoods away), and estimates the cost. Let’s face it, taxis are pricey, and it’s definitely a plus to know if you’ll be paying a surfeit of cash when calling that cab.
Normally, should I decide to enjoy a cold beer in downtown Petaluma with friends (a rare, rare occurrence, even when I was living in other cities), the closest pub, Maguire’s, is a mere six blocks at an easy stroll. It’s a cakewalk. Given my low tolerance of that heady liquor – let’s say one or two beers – I could walk home easily, but sometimes a taxi sounds like a cushy alternative, even if at that time of night taxis tend to smell more like a diluted mixture of pine cone, musk and candy cane perfume. After seeing the estimated fare would roughly be $4.16 – the price of a day-old Panini at Whole Foods – Rocket Taxi gives me the names of all the available taxi companies, including their ratings, and, once the two-minute ride is over, I can happily rate them on a 1-5 star scale. Rocket Taxi will also tell you how far away a taxi company is, to better ensure a quicker arrival (pick the one that’s a mile away, not 10 miles), and you may add the company to your Favorites if you decide the in-depth conversation on Chinese Food you had with your sagely driver warrants a Favorite boost. In case you’re overseas, Rocket Taxi shows you taxi companies from all around the world, down to their cities, with currency rate changes (Vancouver, I come prepared!).
Since the rating system is collected by users of Rocket Taxi, there are many instances of unrated Taxi companies – an unfortunate byproduct of lists since picking among dozens of taxi companies can be quite the challenge. I feel like most people would simply pick one of the first three names off the list rather than peruse the rest of the names, all with titles like Taxi Number One, Taxi Supreme, Taxi This, Taxi That, with the pervading thought being “why continue looking when this company is probably just as good as the others?” After all, most people equate top of the list, or beginning of the list, with the best. Rocket Taxi’s lists are alphabetical, so users should keep that in mind before making a decision. Perhaps Rocket Taxi should give the option of switching around the list orders to “best-rated,” “most affordable,” “fastest delivery,” and so forth (I chuckle as I suggest “fastest delivery,” imagining the spiraling out of control taxis that live up to their wild New York stereotype; believe me, I know).
While at $1.99 Rocket Taxi is pretty affordable, it would help if it’d save me some money, too, rather than unequivocally telling me how big a wad of cash I’ll be losing – er – using once I tap the “call taxi” tab. In all honestly, though, whenever people decide they want a taxi, cost is not at the forefront of the mind so much as convenience and transportation is, and Rocket Taxi gives you the means to call a quick order of yellow lightning delivery.
Categorized as: $1 to $4.99,Apps for Moms,Apps for Professionals,Apps for Teenagers,Contest Fridays,Lifestyle,Navigation,Paid Apps,Reference,Special Categories,Travel
Tagged as: Edovia Inc., location-based service, Rocket Taxi, taxi company