By Erik Crouch
Taxis are changing fast: think wifi hot-spots, fares computed online, and maybe seat-belts. The latest advancement in taxi-craft comes from Chongqing, where a new smartphone app can be used to book a ride online. Now only for Android (but with iOS and WIndows Phone versions in the works) users need only enter their location, destination, and hit “call a cab” to be picked up.
There are currently 3,000 Chongqing cabs outfitted for the app, and another 5,000 will be brought online soon. After booking, the program allows users to watch their taxi arrive via GPS, and the app even includes a “history” feature, making it easy to repeat common routes. As an added bonus for the tone-troubled laowai, the app has an English option (the drivers are still told the destination in Chinese) thereby easing many a tourists’ taxi anxiety.