A GLOBAL taxi app is to launch in Edinburgh which will allow users to hail black cabs through their smartphone.
GetTaxi, which is already available in 30 cities including London, New York and Moscow, has set its sights on the Scottish market and the Capital is its first destination.
The downloadable app connects customers and taxi drivers using GPS, which allows a black cab to be hailed from anywhere in the city.
London cabbies and users have taken to the app over the last three years as it opens the entire market up, with chief executive Remo Gerber putting its success over rival mobile apps down to the offering of “trusted black cab drivers” to passengers who otherwise would have to stand in the street to hail a cab.
The app is also “pay-as-you-go” for drivers in contrast to standard fees which are currently paid to radio firms.
And tech-savvy customers can even use the app to book a cab by simply speaking into their smartwatch.
Mr Gerber said: “Black cab drivers are the best drivers and the most trusted, they are all vetted and their cabs are wheelchair-accessible. This technology helps to free the entire market up to them.
“Where at present you can only flag a black cab in the street, by using this app you can hail one from anywhere.
“We are currently expanding throughout the UK and Edinburgh will be the first city in Scotland. We’re working closely with regulators, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and drivers to provide the safest and most reliable means to get around.”
Over the last three years in London, GetTaxi has been involved in a battle with rival mobile app Uber which allows users to hail a lift with private hire vehicles.
Black cab drivers have objected to Uber being given a private hire licence, claiming the company infringes upon their right to be the sole users of taximeters in London. The matter has been passed to the High Court.
GetTaxi also provides 24/7 UK customer care, bookings up to two weeks in advance, confirmation of the driver’s name, photo and vehicle registration to users, cashless payment, as well as business accounts with over 2000 UK businesses.
The first GetTaxi driver in Edinburgh will be David Sutherland, 59, who has driven a cab in the city for more than seven years.
He said: “I was approached by a member of the GetTaxi team at the rank in Market Street and straight away I could see the benefits. You don’t need to pay a set fee like you do with the radio firms and it opens the entire market up to the driver as you can be hailed from anywhere.
“It’s safer for the passenger too as they receive a trusted black cab plus a photo and the vehicle reg plate. I think it will be a massive success. All the drivers are talking about it.”
UKTI chief executive Dominic Jermey said: “I’m delighted that GetTaxi is rolling its operation out nationally.”