Innovation That Matters

Zingo Taxi: hailing a cab, mobile style


Location based services are becoming a reality — using Zingo in London, you can have a taxi speed to wherever you are, based on your cell phone sending them your exact location. Yes, we know about the eternal promises of location based services (LBS), like lunch specials popping up on your cell phone the moment you pass by a Japanse restaurant around noon. Or taxis speeding to wherever you are, based on your cell phone sending them the exact location. Oh, wait — the latter is for real now! London-based Zingo Taxi is the world’s first (well, maybe second) mobile phone taxi-hailing service, and enables passengers to hail a nearby licensed London taxi that is available for hire by calling Zingo from their mobile phone. Zingo uses global positioning technology (GPS) and the phone location service of the caller’s network operator to locate the nearest available Zingo taxi. The passenger is then automatically connected to the driver’s hands-free mobile phone. Exact whereabouts can then be established and the fare picked up with a minimum of delay. A GBP 1.40 (approx EUR 2.10, or USD 2.20) payment is added to the fare by the driver (this is the cut that Zingo takes). Hundreds of taxis have already been fitted out with GPS receivers, which Zingo installs for free, and major wireless carriers like Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2 are also on board. A similar service, albeit on a smaller scale, was introduced by Oslo Taxi in 2001 in co-operation with NetCom, Norway’s second largest mobile operator. But for now, Zingo is definitely the one to watch!


If you’re in transportation, then studying and tracking this idea is a no-brainer. Even in cities where taxis/cabs are normally plentiful, this service would be a welcome new service in off-hours and in remote areas. GPS has come a long way; Zingo and Oslo Taxi have worked out the complicated processes and procedures; and everybody with a pulse has a mobile phone, so this isn’t the worst moment to get into this game. Location based services may actually be going somewhere soon!


Download PDF