Hailing a Cab With Your Phone

Q: It's a pain to look up individual cab companies whenever I travel to a new city. Is there one way to reach all of them regardless of my location?

Taxi.jpgA: Even though its founders have received a cease and desist order from the San Francisco Metro Transit Authority & the Public Utilities Commission of California, UberCab, a new startup that allows you to hail a cab using your iPhone or Android-based phone, continues to operate. After downloading the app, customers can input their address and the nearest available car -- a sleek black sedan -- will arrive in about five to ten minutes. UberCab also works for those without smartphones; just text your address to UBR-CAB (827-222).

There's a fee for convenience, though. UberCab charges customers a base rate of $8, plus nearly $5 for every mile they travel. There's a $15 minimum. On the plus side, payments are charged directly to your credit card and tips are included in the fare. A personal page on uberapp.com allows you to view driver ratings, mileage, trip history and maps of routes you have taken in the past.

While UberCab hasn't spread across the country yet -- it's only available in San Francisco -- there's another popular app that works in similar ways: TaxiMagic.

Directly integrated with taxi dispatch systems, TaxiMagic allows you to book a cab from your mobile phone or the Internet, track the arrival of the cab, charge the ride to your credit card and even expense the entire thing with an e-receipt. Like UberCab, TaxiMagic works through a dedicated app -- available for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android or Palm -- or can be used with simple text messaging. Text TMAGIC (862442) with your address and receive a confirmation message within seconds.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Desegregated, Yet Unequal

A short documentary about the legacy of Boston busing

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

Social Media: The Video Game

What if the validation of your peers could "level up" your life?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Technology

Just In