It appears that vending machines for cabs may be the next frontier for the market, with both TaxiTreats and New Orleans Carriage Cab developing ways for passengers to buy products on the move.
Vending machines appear to be a platform ripe for new innovation, and Springwise has seen numerous twists on the concept – from beer and wifi dispensers to machines that work only for adults. Now it appears that the next frontier of this market may be vending machines for cabs, with both TaxiTreats and New Orleans Carriage Cab developing ways for passengers to buy products on the move.
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Those dreaded battles in traffic trying to flag down a passing taxi will soon be a thing of past horrific nightmares. ZabKab is the first TLC approved app for hailing yellow cabs.
The app comes in two versions — one for drivers and one for passengers. The passenger version lets the user hit a “hail” button that signals cabs in a four to five block radius. Passengers can also see cabs move on the map in real time; a yellow cab on the map is free, a gray cab is taken.
The app runs on GPS and gives drivers a precise location of where the passenger is hailing from — even which side of the street they are on.
ZabKab does not allow for communication between driver and rider — thus meeting TLC regulations — so drivers won’t know your destination address or be able to tell you that they are coming. Mostly, the app works to give drivers a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood to easily find patrons and not waste time driving around empty.
“A lot of passengers become conditioned to walk to a major corner or avenue, so a lot of cabs just run up and down avenues and not on side streets or burrows,” Martin Heikel — co-creator of ZabKab — tells Mashable. “Now a passenger can just stay put and their presence will be known to drivers.”
The general app’s concept is no novel idea. Uber, SideCar and GetTaxi use similar smartphone apps to dispatch cars at a patrons request. But ZabKab stands out because they are not dispatching cars from private services, but instead integrating the city’s infamous yellow cab.
The winner of the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Next Idea competition, “TaxiTreats,” is a vending machine for cabs that could provide passengers with energy drinks, snack bars, gum, mints and over-the-counter pain relievers.
The concept was developed by NYU Stern School of Business MBA candidate Brian Shimmerlik and Universidad de Buenos Aires student Tomas Grosskopf, who envisioned the machine mounted to the back of the driver’s partition next to the TV screens that feature in the new cab models.
The pair were awarded with $17,500, free office space to help realize their initiative, and networking opportunities with New York City-based investors, entrepreneurs, professors, and government officials.
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