Forget about ringing for a cab – there’s now an app for that.
Wollongong Radio Cabs have just launched an app for Android and iPhones which means people won’t have to wait in a queue for the next available operator.
Instead, once they’ve downloaded the app and registered, booking a cab is just a few clicks away.
Wollongong Radio Cabs general manager George Isiklar said the Android app had been running for about two weeks while the iPhone version became available on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr Isiklar said preference wasn’t given to app bookings over those made on the phone as they all had to go through a supervisor in the dispatch office to be assigned.
‘‘So the supervisor in charge for the day will see the job come in and get it dispatched,’’ Mr Isiklar said.
‘‘It’s the same as one of our call centre operators actually taking the booking. So it still goes through our dispatch system, still goes through our supervisor’s screen and goes through the system without any input from the operators.’’
One big advantage for users, Mr Isiklar said, was it put an end to waiting in a call queue on a Friday or Saturday night - or even on New Year’s Eve.
The app also includes a map which will show you the location of the taxi that will pick you up.
‘‘When the booking is confirmed you get a notification of the plate number, the fleet number of the taxi, make of the vehicle and how far it is from you - and it will refresh every 30 seconds,’’ Mr Isiklar said.
The app does not track your location after making the booking. If you walk down the street, the taxi will still arrive at the location you booked.
Also, Mr Isiklar said it was possible to deregister users if the app was used for prank bookings.
The new app coincides with a million-dollar upgrade of the dispatch system which will keep operators’ jobs in Wollongong.
‘‘What we had before was a very outdated dispatch system and the controls and vehicle positioning was very, very poor,’’ Mr Isiklar said.
‘‘It predominantly worked on radio frequency – in some instances, even if there was a car in the location, it would drop out. The dispatchers couldn’t see it was there and would give a job to a car further away. That was causing all sorts of issues for us.
‘‘Now, we can order cars and they arrive, we can track them live. It’s state of the art, I would say it’s the best dispatch system in the world.’’
To find the app, search for Radio Cabs of Wollongong. Mr Isiklar said there were also plans for a website that would also take online bookings.