– please visit www.tweetalondoncab.co.uk for all your taxi tweeting needs!
Welcome to tweeetalondoncab, the service that is hoping to help connect punters to drivers. We are a small collective of Licensed London Taxi Drivers (anyone want to suggest a collective noun for cabbies? – A whinge?) who have been using Twitter as a means of keeping in touch while we work; updating each other on roadworks, work opportunities and general cabbie chit-chat. Occasional requests to book us have come from followers, so the obvious next step is try and harness the power of Twitter to launch @tweetalondoncab. At present we are quite a small group of drivers, so we are trying to start slowly, test out how this will all work, and see where it takes us. Because of the small numbers of drivers at present, we envisage that this service will be primarily for pre-booked journeys, rather than the more “it’s 2am on a Saturday morning, standing on the Strand with no orange lights in sight”, type of journey!
For this to work we need to set some guidelines, but we want to keep them to a minimum, and hope that the open nature of Twitter will work to everyones benefit.
- If you want to use the service you’ll need to follow @tweetalondoncab, if you do we will follow you back, assuming you aren’t one of those nasty Britney Spears Video type spambots.
- When you want to book a journey send a Direct Message (DM) to @tweetalondoncab stating the time, exact location & destination of your desired trip. Please also include a mobile phone no, as you probably know Twitter isn’t always behaving, & this may be the only way we can contact you. Any driver or drivers that can cover the trip will then msg you directly to offer their services. In the unlikely event that more than one driver gets back to you, please respond to the first driver that contacts you & make the final arrangements through a DM with him.
- Make sure that any personal information you give out is done as a DM, @tweetalondoncab is an open account, therefore any general msg will be out there, and viewable, in the general twitterverse.
- Please try and give us as much notice as you can when planning your journey. We currently think that 30 minutes before you want to travel would be ideal.
- This is an experiment of a socio-technological nature that may require your patient and understanding while we listen and learn how to run this the best way.
- Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that your request will be met, another reason to plan ahead, and we won’t be offended if you hail a cab from the street before you make an arrangement with us. We’d just rather you didn’t do that if a driver is already on his way to an agreed pick-up. If you don’t hear back from us, it’s not because we are rude, it’s probably that we are all just a bit busy working and won’t be able to help you on that occasion.
- Finally, please tell us how the experience went, and more importantly tell the twitterverse too!
So, hopefully, you’ll have made the “deal” with a driver, completed your trip in style, fallen in love with us forever, and most importantly you’ll remember to use us again.
We are not looking to compete with any of the established radio circuits, nor are we a profit making service. With this in mind there will be no surcharges, and meters will not be engaged until you are in the cab. We will clearly be relying on the trust factor that is such an important part of Twitter, and from our side you can be assured that all the drivers are verified Licensed London Taxi Drivers. Some of you may have already had the pleasure of being picked up by @londontaximan or @cabbiescapital, both part of the brains trust behind @tweetalondoncab. So, it’s over to all you lovely people in the Twitterverse; give us a Tweet and meet some of London’s finest cabbies.
If you have any further queries or questions, feel free to contact @cabbiescapital or @londontaximan. And whatever you do, don’t forget to follow us by clicking on this link.
As our follower numbers grow and the work comes in at a steady rate, we thought it best to try and get ourselves a bit more organised. Whilst we’ve managed to get by through Twitter & email exchanges in the past, it was time to get everyone together to sort out how we move things forward. I won’t bore anyone with the details of what 17 cabbies locked in the same room waffled about, but we managed to have a very positive meeting. Huge thanks once more to Mark Rock (@markrock) and all at Audioboo (@audioboo) for letting us use their offices for this meeting. And below is a picture of our historic first meeting. Roughly from left to right those attending where;
@Nigel42, @CoopsE1 (seated), @cabbydavid (seated), @thegreenbadge, @metropete7 (rear), @jt188chinesecab, (middle), @TitanicCabby (front), @Lee_tax (hiding), @londontaximan (front), @cabbiescapital, @licencetaxihire, @cabgeeza (front), @legalledoff, @JasTHFC (rear), @jackcabnory (middle), @markthecab (protecting his valuables), @MartCAFC
@Tweetalondoncab is delighted to launch the #Twesticab hashtag in preparation for it’s involvement in Thursday’s @LdnTwestival. As you’ll see from the details below, attendees at Twestival will be able to send their taxi request via Twitter using the #Twesticab identifier.
How it works;
1. We’ll take requests via tweets using the #twesticab tag.
2. Or just pass a note to the team there on the night by finding the #Twesticab desk, manned by @cabbiescapital, @londontaximan and @paul_clarke.
3. Requests need to state:
- Twitter name (or names)
- Desired departure time (or range of times)
- Destination (ideally street/road name and first bit of postcode)
- Mobile number (only if there might be problems confirming your cab via Twitter – Numbers will not be displayed publicly)
4. If booking, a voluntary donation of £3 to Childline is suggested – via any of the team. (Bear in mind you may well save more than this if the taxi-sharing goes well) Drivers will also be making donations, most likely as a % of any fares they take.
5. We’ll put requests up on a chart and plan travel combinations and routes that make sense.
6. Half an hour before your cab goes you’ll get a tweet to confirm (or a text if necessary) and you can pick up a confirmation slip from the team.
7. You’ll be told in the confirmation and on the slip the Twitter names of your fellow travellers and your driver, and the departure time and location of your cab.
8. We’ll help you to get in touch, and to get your cab.
What’s in it for you? Lots!
- A safe journey home with a licensed black cab driver.
- The chance to travel with new and interesting people.
- Saving money through sharing (hopefully!).
- Friendlier on the environment than everyone taking separate cabs.
- Chance to try out a new way of managing travel, and to support a new twitter venture, @tweetalondoncab
- You get looked after: personal service from booking, to confirmation, to helping you get to your cab.
@Tweetalondoncab is very excited about coming to Twestival and looks forward to making new friends whilst raising a bit of money for Childline along the way.
Tweetalondoncab (known as TLC by its members) is delighted to be supporting
London Twestival on 10 September, and will be bringing some community
innovation to the evening in the shape of London’s first ever Virtual Cab
Formed as a collective of black cab drivers, who all met through Twitter,
TLC is a great example of how Twitter can help a group of sole traders
to provide a service to others with a totally new approach. Twitter has not
only enabled them to provide this service, but also to form a close-knit
group of drivers who use Twitter to exchange all sorts of useful “cabbie
information”, traffic alerts, work hot-spots and where to meet for a cuppa
and a gossip!
TLC will also be operating a “virtual cab rank” at the Twestival, helping to
arrange black cabs on the night. This will take tweeted (or scribbled)
travel plans, and – using a little technology, a lot of Knowledge, the TLC
network and other contacts – arrange for combined taxis where possible,
giving Twestival-goers a cheaper, more social and environmentally friendly
journey. People using the virtual rank can make a small donation to
Childline in return for the service, and the TLC drivers will also donate a
proportion of fares on the night.
Follow @tweetalondoncab! We’re really looking forward to helping Twestival
and meeting as many fellow Tweeters as possible on the night.
Following on from the great response we had from our launch last week, we’d had a steady start to the week with a few bookings and some more Twitter love from most people that heard about us. The nice man from @TimeOutBigSmoke mentioned us on his blog, and Time Out even squeezed in a small bit about us in the magazine. Unfortunately they, like Sky News yesterday, seem to be giving me all the credit for @tweetalondoncab! Which is annoying because although I’ve been heavily involved in the launch and helping it get going, most of the credit should go to Karl, aka @londontaximan, for the initial idea and persuading some of the doubters (me) that it could work and that we should just get the thing up & running. I also want to stress that @tweetalondoncab will only succeed if it continues to operate as a collective of like minded drivers who all contribute to “the greater good”. This has certainly been the case so far, so thanks to everyone involved, and we look forward to getting more drivers up and running soon.
But back to the good news. Thanks to our first customer, @Britt_W, Channel 4 news have picked up on our existence, and after I spoke to them yesterday, still decided that they wanted to interview someone on todays lunchtime news. So I will be heading for Grays Inn Road and hoping that nerves don’t get the better of me. I’ll be trying to get across the message that @tweetalondoncab is a true collective operation, that it shows cab drivers are prepared to be innovative and that our service values our customers safety & security above all else.
And then, completely separate from the Channel 4 thing, Sky News started following us and wanted to have a chat. So another phone call with me trying to explain what we are about, and they then mentioned us on their technology round up at about 7:25pm last night (blink and you’ll miss it), and posted this story about us on their website. I really don’t know where they got the idea from that I set it all up, as I talked about us as a collective and how the initial idea had come from another driver. Never mind, all publicity is good publicity, right?
So watch the C4 news this lunchtime, laugh at me if you must, things seem to be getting a bit interesting now.
……have decided to put the “how to use us” section as a separate page, now called “how we operate”. This is where all you new users of the service need to look so that you how the system works for booking your cab. The home page will now carry all the latest news and information about TLC. The dedicated Drivers page, where we will post stuff for all you drivers, is yet to be updated, just haven’t had the time to put anything on there. Hopefully I’ll be able to put some “welcome notes” for new drivers up there, giving them all the information they need to get started with TLC. That page is password protected, I will send a DM to all the drivers letting them know what the password is, once there is some useful information to read!. And over there >>>>>>>> you will see the Twitter stream for @tweetalondoncab has been joined by an index of pages and a links section. If anyone has some cab trade links they would like to add, let me know.
Following a final meeting in an old petrol station car park in deepest Southwark, Karl (@londontaximan) and myself (@cabbiescapital) made the executive decision to launch @tweetalondoncab on Friday 3rd July – yesterday. After much umming & not a small amount of ahhing over the past weeks, we felt it was better just to go for it, launch the concept and see what happens.
I was at Tuttle, (doing a lot of exaggerated hand movements from the look of this) sitting in St James’s Park trying to find some way of connecting to the interweb (huge thanks to @paul_clarke for the loan of his, er, dongle), while Karl sent out the initial tweets, and within minutes it seemed that we were being re-tweeted everywhere. One person who arrived at Tuttle at around midday had already heard of us via Twitter before getting introduced to me – a nice moment. Once the link to our blog was sent out (Karl, mate, you MUST learn how to add links to your tweets!) that was also getting plenty of views, over 450 in total yesterday. @tweetalondoncab now has over 150 followers, and certainly created a little bit of a buzz in the twitter world. There is also a possibility that those nice people at Time Out will give us a mention in their next edition. All in all an excellent start I think, even if it didn’t create many jobs. We’re out there and people know about us, we just need to keep spreading the word and hopefully the work will start to steadily build. The honour of being our first customer went to @Britt_W, and thanks to @cabbytez for making that happen.
Would love to hear any feedback as to what people think of the concept and how we might take it forward. All suggestion/criticisms welcome, us cabbies are thick skinned!
So a big collective well done to all of us, we’ve already made people view cab drivers in a slightly different light. Now let’s see where this thing takes us!