In all of my trusty travel guides, mostly Lonely Planet books, there is a handy section about how to get around the town, city or country of your choice. Handy information about the bus service, metro system and rail network. Where they go, how often and what it costs. Handy info that has proven to be invaluable to me time and again, around the world. Handy info that, thanks to technology, is becoming increasingly redundant. Guides of the future will just need to let the traveller know which app based taxi service operates in that part of the world. And the link to the right place in the applicable App Store.
In Seville, I used MyTaxi. In London I use Uber, for the time being. I get some of the controversies regarding these new taxi services. The socialist half of my brain is concerned about the lack of Uber’s corporate responsibility – they need to be brought to book. The capitalist half of my brain, however, entirely dismisses the arguments made by existing taxi firms seeking protection from this new technologically adept player in the market. Evolve or die. It takes how long to complete the Knowledge? Thirty four months? I could buy a phone, install Waze and be ready to go in less than thirty four minutes.
As a consumer, I love Uber, MyTaxi et al. They are brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I can get an accurate estimate, order a cab, watch it coming towards me and follow its progress throughout the journey. There’s no fumbling for change – payment is done through the app by card, PayPal or Apple Pay. I can even rate the driver to let other passengers know that this one didn’t touch my knee in an unwelcome way or make inappropriate, sexual comments about my facial hair.