Last year we reported that veteran navigation firm TomTom had begun testing a taxi service in the Netherlands. Until now the service has involved a ‘Taxi Butler’ device installed in locations like hotels that allows users to book journeys, but now the concept is expanding further via the launch of a smartphone app.
The new TomTomTaxi app (iPhone only for now, with an Android version on the way) makes the app accessible to a much wider audience across TomTom’s test cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The result of the company’s acquisition of TXXI, the app intends to offer something more than the sea of other taxi booking apps on the market across Europe.
When making a booking, users will see the most efficient route to their destination (something TomTom has a lot of success with) including current traffic conditions, as well as more usual details such as the name and profile of the driver, details of the car and its precise time of arrival. The route is also seen by the driver when he or she takes the booking, meaning that there should be no disagreements about the best way to get to Centraal Station after a night out. Nearby points of interest can also be explored before or during the journey, using the app.
There’s a ‘trusted drivers’ mechanic, letting users build up a pool of their favorites, with aggregated favorite lists acting as a ranking system for other users. In addition to offers journeys from individual drivers as Uber does, the TomTomTaxi service connects to local taxi companies, like services such as Kabbee do.
Steven Blom, who founded TXXI, tells us that he wants TomTom to be able to offer a complete end-to-end solution that will include payment in the future.
TomTom is currently still limiting its service to Amsterdam and Rotterdam (Blom says that the trials have been going “very well”), but more cities in the Netherlands will be added in time, and it obviously makes sense for the Dutch company to expand it beyond its home country at some point in the future.
The taxi app space is fiercely competitive but with plenty of room for growth. With a recognisable consumer brand, TomTom has a shot at making TomTomTaxi a meaningful part of its business, if it can scale quickly enough.
➤ TomTomTaxi [Dutch App Store only]
Image credit: Medioimages / Photodisc / Thinkstock
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