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Nationwide taxi booking & payment via mobile phone

Telecommunications

Consumers have been able to book taxis by cell phone for some time now, but a new, Virginia-based service aims to expand that capability with a comprehensive—and nationwide—paperless approach that includes mobile ride tracking and payment as well. RideCharge allows consumers to book a ride, follow the taxi’s progress toward their location and then pay the fare using their mobile phone. Users of the service can schedule their ride either online or via a mobile application available for iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile. To do that, they enter the time and place they’d like to be picked up along with where they’ll need to be dropped off; RideCharge then displays options offered by participating taxi, sedan, limo and shuttle services in the area that meet the user’s criteria. (In areas that don’t yet have an affiliated company, phone numbers for local transportation companies are displayed instead.) After comparing options and making a selection, users can then view the status of their ride both online and in the mobile application, and a reminder is sent an hour before the pickup is due to take place. Finally, at the conclusion of the ride, users can pay both fare and tip with their mobile device and download an e-receipt, eliminating the need to keep track of paper receipts for reimbursement. Included in the charge is RideCharge’s own fee of USD 1.50 per trip, according to Forbes.com. Aimed at business travellers, RideCharge promises to help corporate travel managers track and control ground travel expenses with a unified, electronic approach to what has been a highly fragmented and paper-based service. Currently, however, it serves only major US cities; one to partner with or emulate in other parts of the world? (Related: Unlimited taxi rides for 48 euros per month.) Spotted by: Susanna Haynie

Email: info@ridecharge.com

Website: www.ridecharge.com

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