Conversations with cabbies may soon be a thing of the past, the BBC reports, thanks to an innovation by an Australian company. TouchTaxi allows you to surf the information superhighway while stuck in traffic on London’s not-so-super highways. And it sounds like a terrible idea.
It consists of a touch-screen interface by the passenger seat and a PC in the boot. The Melbourne-based company that is promoting it over here touts a range of benefits from the service, such as being able to find a local bar or restaurant while travelling to an unfamiliar area. But why would anyone wait until they were en route before deciding where to eat out? And isn’t the point of The Knowledge that cabbies should be able to take you to exactly where you’re going?
There are, however, supposed to be other amazing things you can do with TouchTaxi. For instance, we all know what it’s like to be stuck in a taxi when you suddenly decide to get a mortgage. Well, Londonist doesn’t, but there must be someone out there who does, because TouchTaxi will not only be able to tell you how large a mortgage you can get, it will also be able to get someone to call your mobile and try to sell it to you. Already, TouchTaxi is looking every bit as useful as an underwater toaster.
But it’s the advertising aspect that takes TouchTaxi from being merely useless to being pure evil. The system will broadcast the cab’s location by GPS, so you can be bombarded with area-specific ads. For instance, pass a poster display for one credit card and TouchTaxi will try and distract you with information about its rivals, thus instantly doubling the amount of advertising you’re exposed to.
Bollocks to that. There’s already far too much advertising in London. Give Londonist the passing view and an informed lecture on the failings of asylum policy any day.