Kafka Cab – feeding the sat-nav

Posted on April 4, 2012


I was really happy last year when an old contact of mine, Jay Bregman who co-founded ecourrier.co.uk, set up Hailo, billed as The Black Cab App. The business appears to be on a tear and good luck to them. Only it got me thinking about an altogether less innovative service.

Image: 'Minicab' from http://www.flickr.com/photos/95172615@N00/4357139
Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC BY 2.5)

It goes without saying that one reason for having a personal blog is to rant about the shortcomings of sat-nav devices. Everyone knows that, right? I can pretend a post like this is something to do with my big geo-location kick. It’s not.

My brief story relates to one minicab company – there are probably lots out there with similar policies – which uses sat-navs extensively.

Running late, I had to jump in a cab a few months back to get from one part of south-west London to another. Wasn’t far. Maybe half a mile. The problem was when I said I needed to go a few minutes down the road. Down a very straight, uncomplicated road.

“What’s the postcode?” asked the driver.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“I need the postcode.”

“I don’t know it – but I can show you the way. It’s straight down this road.”

“No, have to know the postcode.”

He wouldn’t relent. I tried pointing out the goal was to take me somewhere and have me pay for that. The goal wasn’t to feed his grubby, windscreen-attached gadget.

He never understood me. He probably never will.

In the end I had to say I was going to walk and try for a black cab. Then his boss eyeballed it and told him to take me. You know, like 90% of world taxis work.

Roll on more innovative use of technology. No tails wagging dogs please.