Getting home after a late night if you’ve missed the train can be a pain. In London, black cabs can be expensive, illegal mini cabs dangerous, and while phoning your local taxi firm a lot cheaper can be a long wait.
In steps Addison Lee who hope that the introduction of their Windows Phone app will make WP7 smartphone users book one of their cars in London over all the other options.
Why? Because you can do it in less than 2 minutes.
- Windows Phone 7
Turn on the app and you are presented with a big button letting you book a minicab. Scroll to the left and the app that looks very similar in feel to the British Airways Windows Phone 7 app offers you a panel on your current activity like bookings in progress. Swipe again and you see your previous bookings, then your details, and finally a way to contact Addison Lee.
To book a minicab you simply press the "Book a minicab" button and that take you into a 4, 5 or 6 step process depending on how you are paying. The app offers users to pay by Account, Cash, or Card meaning anyone can use it with little hassle.
The first question is where you are going and where you want to go to. You can enter an address, find an address nearby, or pick somewhere from your contact.
The system is clever enough to work from postcodes, as well as generic building names: The Gerkin will give you 30 St Mary Axe for example, while Waterloo knows you mean the station.
Once you’ve punched in your address details you can then opt to have the minicab arrive as soon as possible or a specific date and time. Then it is a case of telling Addison Lee how many of you there are (1-4 or 5-6) before verifying all the details and ordering your cab. If you are opting to pay by card or cash it is here you will told a price of the journey but if it is an account spend you won’t.
That’s all fairly straight forward, however where the clever bit comes in, is that as soon as you create the booking the app creates a live tile on your home screen with a live map of where your car is, but also a quick link to a dedicated page for that journey allowing you to track your progress throughout your trip.
The app does give you a rough time of how long it will take (annoyingly not taking into account any form of traffic) and where you are on that journey as the cars are all tracked and then that information relayed back into the app.
That's really handy if you need to know roughly how far you've got to go, and from a security point of view where you are.
Aside from the live tile you also get a series of text and email confirmations to your phone providing you've inputed the details.
Once the journey is completed the live then automatically removes itself (this isn’t instant but happened overnight for us).
If you are an Addison Lee customer and have made the move to Windows Phone 7 this is going to be your new favourite app. It’s very easy to use and the added features found only on Windows Phone 7 are very good really highlighting some of the key strengths of WP7 over iPhone and Android.
If you’re not an Addison Lee customer while we found the prices slightly above our local taxi firm for the same journeys the advantage here is that you won’t have long to wait. Why? Because Addison Lee tell us that within London there is normally over 1300 cars on duty at any one time. That could just save your bacon next time you decide to miss the last train home.
Sadly the Addison Lee service currently only works within a 35 mile radius of the centre of London.