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Monday, September 5, 2011

Interview with Neal Fullman, CEO of Get Taxi

Mark Bridge writes:

Get Taxi promises ‘a simpler, faster way to order taxis from your mobile phone’. But there’s much more to this ambitious company than its free mobile app. I spoke to Neal Fullman, the company’s CEO (and a previous visitor to TheFonecast.com), to find out more.

“Get Taxi is set to pretty much revolutionise the way that the great London taxi is booked and dispatched”, Neal explained. “The technology works in two ways; either from a mobile phone, in which case the mobile app geo-locates the passenger and then sends their request for a taxi to any one of our taxis carrying our unique driver unit within a mile’s radius. Once the driver has accepted the ride, it then sends back to the customer a notification showing the driver’s name, his licence number, the registration number of the taxi, a photo and an ETA. This gives the passenger a huge amount of control over their taxi journey and it eliminates continually asking ‘where is my taxi?’. This is further enhanced by a real-time Google map showing the taxi’s location in relation to you and its progress across the map to you at the pick-up location.”

“We also have a web-based client for our corporate customers. The system works in exactly the same way as it does on mobile, except that the company has a bespoke web page as their interface.”

Each taxi driver using the Get Taxi system has a custom-made device that informs them about potential new fares. The unit’s been approved by the TfL Public Carriage Office, the body that licenses London's taxi and private hire services, and is portable for security. It also has its own SIM card, avoiding the need for drivers to use their own phones.

Neal told me the service exceeded expectations by acquiring its first 120 UK drivers in just three weeks. Those are now ‘on line’ and available to customers, with a further 800 drivers having joined the Get Taxi waiting list. Growth is expected to continue into 2012, with up to 3,000 drivers potentially using the Get Taxi system by this time next year.

We went on to talk more about the corporate taxi service, mobile payment options, the response from black cab drivers, the company’s background and the future of GetTaxi.

Before ending, I asked Neal what had tempted him to join Get Taxi.

“I know, as a very heavy user of taxis myself, just how poor the user experience can be. So I was immediately able to see from a user perspective the enormous opportunity this offers. From a personal perspective, I’m the son of three generations of licensed London taxi drivers, so I’ve got taxi driving in the veins to some extent. So you put together a love of the mobile industry, a good working knowledge of the taxi industry and of London, and you can see the appeal.”

You can listen to the full interview with Neal Fullman of Get Taxi on our website, via iTunes or by downloading the MP3 file.
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Author: The Fonecast
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