Need a Ride? Summon a Car Straight from your Smartphone
We’re well into the 21st century and although we may not have self-driving cars quite yet, summoning a ride via your smartphone is certainly a step in that direction. From digitally hailing a cab to reserving an on-demand private driver, check out the following companies and apps that provide a variety of options for getting you where you want to go – the way you want to get there.
• Uber – Uber is a unique twist on a calling a car service, allowing users to summon an on-demand private driver with a few taps on a smartphone. The company’s software tries to predict areas where rides are likely to be in high demand at different times of day. This information appears on a driver’s smartphone so that they can know where to linger and, ideally, pick up customers within minutes of a request for a ride. This is definitely handy in cities or neighborhoods where cabs are hard to flag down. Uber originally offered only sedans, but now has a hybrid option (at approximately 10 to 25 percent more than a taxi), which is important since the riders are paying for the driver as well as fuel for the car.
• Lyft – Lyft is a fun, affordable alternative to the cab based on a ridesharing concept. The app features a simple user interface and uses real-time location mapping to deliver a friendly, background-checked driver to your location in minutes. Passengers can play their own music, charge up their phones…and even ride shotgun. Oh and you won’t have to question if your ride has arrived – Lyft cars are adorned with a fluffy pink mustache. Yes, for real. The service is currently available in San Francisco only, but is sure to be spreading to other major U.S. cities soon.
• Taxi Magic – This is the first online taxi booking service directly integrated into taxi dispatch systems, so no phone call is needed. With Taxi Magic you can find taxis based on your location and book one with just a few quick taps. You can also track the arrival of your taxi through dispatch updates and a map view. Payment is simple, charge the ride to your credit card and expense the trip with an e-receipt.