You are in London. You take a cab. The iconic black cab of London. How about a charger for your mobile phone there ? Vodafone UK moved up a gear in terms of the communications facilities: they provide 1,000 London cabs with mobile chargers. An additional benefit of having in-cab charging and connectivity is that the drivers themselves can use them to stay connected.
According to taxi-news.co.uk, in recent months, for example, a media company called Ubiquitous Taxis has worked with one technology company to install temporary in-cab Wi-Fi networks based on dongles that are plugged into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter.
“You have got this idea that London is going to be its own little Wi-Fi zone in the next 18 months to two years,” says Sarah Christmas, head of marketing at Ubiquitous. “That is great, but that is a way off.
But Vodafone, the mobile phone company, has taken care of that by fitting chargers in 1000 branded black cabs. “As part of the research around that campaign we have asked people what they think of not only having chargers but what they think of having Wi-Fi,” says Christmas.
In a survey of 500 passengers, more than four out of five said they would use Wi-Fi in a taxi if it was available, and they would be 80 percent more likely to go online. A similar percentage would be more likely to choose a cab equipped with Wi-Fi over one without it.
“For the kind of London taxi audience who like to stay connected and are probably quite upwardly mobile, well connected people, tech-savvy, this is a service that they really want,” Christmas notes. “It is seen as an amazing value service to provide for free.”
The move is part of an advertising campaign to promote the company’s recent network upgrades in the capital city.
More tangible though, is a new scheme that will enable Vodafone customers to pay for their taxi fare by sending the taxi cab license number as a text message to a special number and have the cost charged to their phone bill account.