It struck me as a good time to compare Boston Cab's new iPhone app to my experience using Uber, the transportation app which I first reviewed in 2011, just as it launched in Boston. I use Uber about once a week, mostly for riding in cabs or their mid-range UberX vehicles, as opposed to the pricier town cars or SUVs. (Uber now offers four different vehicle types.)
I used Boston Cab's app three times. When I first tried to use the app, to get picked up in Beacon Hill, I entered only the pickup address and not the destination. After waiting on a corner for 10 minutes, I clicked a button in the app to call Boston Cab's dispatch center. While they had seen my request, they hadn't sent a cab because I hadn't punched in my destination. (Uber's app only requires a pick-up address.) I told the dispatcher not to bother sending a taxi, and hopped on the T instead.
But twice yesterday, the Boston Cab app made a taxi materialize in about ten minutes: once at my home in Brookline, and once in Back Bay.
Here's my take on the pros and cons of Boston Cab's app, compared to using the Uber app to request a taxi.
I was pleasantly surprised by Boston Cab's app, but I'm going back to using Uber. I like having a clear sense how long it will take the cab to arrive; not having to enter my destination; and being able to pay auto-magically.
If you've used either app, or another app like Hailo, what do you like or dislike about them?
About Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
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December 9: Web Innovators Group
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Entrepreneurs and investors sit down for lunch, advice, and feedback. Entrepreneurs must apply to participate.