Ever been standing out in the freezing cold, vainly looking up and down the street for your taxi? Or wondering how long you’ll need to wait after you are ‘Ready Now’?

Zoomy is a Kiwi smartphone app launched this week making it simple to order a cab from your mobile phone – and track it realtime on a GPS map. The brainchild of two ex-telco blokes James Fisk and Neil Macdonald, they are backed by local tech investors with app development undertaken by Auckland company Roam. Zoomy packs other features like pre-ordering rides up to 3 days in advance, driver photos and license plate numbers, and soon, the ability to make payments through the app using your credit card via the DPS gateway. The receipt is even emailed to you – no more hunting for scraps of paper to make your expense claim.

There’s no Facebook or Twitter login for the free smartphone app as yet (it’s on the feature list for the future), so you’ll need to grit your teeth and create an account and password. Once you get past that, the slick app walks you through the taxi ordering process and the map shows all the cabs in your area. Ordering a taxi sends an alert to the five nearest drivers, allowing one to accept it. Zoomy shows you how long it will take for your cab to arrive and you can check where the taxi really is on the GPS map. Great for when you are in the office or getting ready to leave at home and don’t want to waste time standing around outside.

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Zoomy has a rating system so passengers can rate their taxi drivers, although you can’t yet choose a particular driver at order time so you potentially may get a poorly rated one turning up. Awkward. Zoomy tell me negative feedback is passed back to both the driver and the taxi organisation for action, and deregistration from the Zoomy system could result. There is potential for inebriated customers to abuse this system (after all, if you’ve been drinking that is why you called the taxi) so a driver could end up with an unwarranted rating with the passenger not remembering anything about the ride.

Discussion round the office was mixed. Guys seemed to think they would just walk to the nearest taxi stand, no biggie. Girls, in their stilettos, agreed that anything that saves extra walking or prevents rain soaked hair was a damn good idea. The only slight hesitation was not knowing the quality of the taxi drivers and cars – we’ve all been in a less than acceptable taxi at some point.

Zoomy is free for the passenger (they will charge the driver a fee for each successfully completed ride) and across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch they have 16 approved taxi companies signed up, including Corporate Cabs. If Zoomy can onboard some of the other major taxi companies then there really is no downside to the customer. In return the organisation will get real time analytics on drivers and rides completed, while Zoomy clips the ticket on the way. In some ways it is similar to the popular overseas ride serviceΒ Uber.

Available in both iOS and Android, this looks like a slick app, and will stop me from stressing about where my cab is, especially when I’m in a hurry. I’ll look forward to seeing how this service develops further and hopefully getting more drivers and taxi companies onboard. What do you think – is it something you’d use?

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Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. Just what I was looking for.

  2. My experience of using Zoomy was pretty smooth… it took 10 minutes for the cab to turn up but I passed the time watching it approach on the app’s map, which was pretty cool. The driver called me to confirm I wanted a cab (which was a bit odd) but he did seem happy with the service. He’d gotten three fares in a day and a half, which he saw as a good result.

  3. A Kiwi version of Uber (the San Francisco based service).

  4. When in States I LOVED and raved about Uber and Lyft which operate the same way. Along with seeing how far away taxis were and having pics and ratings of drivers I do think the absolute key selling points for me is the linked up credit card (so no more wasting time fumbling with cards) and fare agreed up front – so looking forward to them getting that sorted. Interestingly with Uber and Lyft customer pays about a dollar more than regular taxi but you’re more than happy to do so. Will def try this next time need taxi and support this kiwi version.

  5. Awesome to see an ap like this developed in New Zealand and it will be interesting to see what the giant cab companies do, assuming they are more likely to want o have their own exclusive apps.

    I installed the app this morning and was very impressed with the UX, tutorial, validation etc. Very slick! Only concern was, I wanted to try it out without actually ordering a cab. I deliberately didn’t put a destination in and confirmed my current location. Within 2 seconds I was told there was a cab on the way! Fortunately it was easy to install as well. I’m not sure how a driver was able to confirm they were available at a speed which seemed faster than I could say I wanted the ride (which I didn’t), is there smoke and mirrors there? It reminded me a bit of the old days before taxis had GPS and drivers used to bid for jobs that were half an hour away from their current destination.

    Anyway, delighted to see this happening and I look forward to seeing where it goes. These guys seem to have really thought through the many scenarios that could happen. I do like the idea of being able to ask for a specific driver if they are in the area. I think this would be a major for women, where they feel safe with a particular cabbie and also also from a loyalty perspective. If a driver is really friendly and provides great service, I’d like to be able to reward them with my loyalty.

    • Hi Luigi,

      We’re the guys behind the Zoomy guys who developed the app with them.

      We’ve changed the text on the order screen as that yellow button (once you’ve put in your address and selected passenger numbers etc) is now changed to read “Order Taxi Now” as that’s what it does.

      We use a super fast realtime network that delivers the ride to the driver generally under 250ms (1/4 of a second). We’re fast but not so fast that we do it before you hit the button πŸ˜‰

      We’re adding credit card payments and these will be available shortly so you can pay for the ride with your c/c without having to pull it out of your wallet as well as looking at favouriting drivers (on the wish list!)

      And yes, it’s fun to watch the taxi come ‘zooming’ towards you.

  6. Sounds like a fabulous idea to me, app all downloaded now all I need to do is go on a night out & order my cab home.

  7. Great job Chris, I’m very impressed!

  8. The only way to go.

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