By Andrew Barnett
Taxi passengers have expressed a preference for London cabs to better signpost the in-cab technology services they offer, according to new figures from taxi advertising company Ubiquitous. It is thought that universally recognisable labels on the exterior of taxis could allow Londoners to easily identify and hail taxis that allow them to charge their phones, connect to wi-fi during journeys and pay for journeys without having to rely on cash.
The research, conducted as part of Ubiquitous’s Icons-on-Icons Report, found that 79 per cent of passengers would prefer to differentiate which taxis have phone charging facilities before . Similarly, 79 per cent of passengers also said they would like to the option to select taxis based on whether they offered free wi-fi.
Signposting payment options on the side of taxis was also highlighted as important, with two thirds of passengers (66 per cent) revealing they would use taxis more often if they knew in advance of journey that they could pay electronically. In line with this, 86 per cent of passengers also said they would like the idea of being able to choose to pay by card or cash at the last minute.
Mobile phones running out of batteries, or failing to get a decent mobile connection when out and about, are pains suffered by busy consumers and business people up and down the country. For this reason, taxi passengers are understandably keen to benefit from the innovations in in-cab technologies, be it to charge their smartphone to make an important call or access the internet to search for crucial information or download emails. The problem lies in them not being able to identify which cabs carry which services. There is a tremendous opportunity for major operators and technology companies to associate their brand themselves with these SOS services and help consumers re-energise and re-connect at a moment of need.
The report also revealed the high levels of smartphone use in cabs beyond people simply making calls; 91 per cent of passengers are using their handsets during taxi journeys to send emails, surf the net and use apps. In fact, more passengers check emails (84 per cent) on their smartphone during a cab ride than make calls (75 per cent). 67 per cent of passengers will send texts during journeys, 60 per cent surf the internet and 60 per cent check their Facebook pages.
With all eyes on London in the run up to the Olympics, the iconic black cab will prove to be a key outdoor advertising channel. But in order to offer advertisers the most effective means of engagement with passengers, we must look to adopt the technologies they want. Over 70 per cent of passengers interviewed for the report stated they were a technology influencer within their social circle, so the availability of technology on the go is of growing importance.
The Ubiquitous Icons-on-Icons Report polled 500 taxi passengers, held interviews with 15 media planners and hosted focus groups with 18 taxi drivers. The results of the research offer telling insights into what the taxi industry should watch out for over the next 12 months.
About the author
Andrew Barnett is Managing Director of Ubiquitous. Founded in 2005, Ubiquitous is the benchmark in UK taxi advertising, the market leader in a highly competitive sector and an important stakeholder in the UK outdoor advertising market. The Company’s leadership team offer more than 75 years of combined industry experience; between them they’ve successfully brought to market almost every innovation in taxi advertising, including TipSeats, SuperSides, Liveries, FlexiLivery and MegaSides. Through a philosophy founded upon delivering first class service to advertisers and taxi drivers, Ubiquitous has experienced sustained and positive growth since its founding and today operates a national fleet of black taxis that carry advertising from a wide variety of valued clients, including Tiffany, Vodafone UK, Drambuie, Korean Air, Accenture, MasterCard, and Microsoft.