New Bing Maps feature takes the guessing out of taxi cab fares

Bing maps just introduced a really cool feature for travelers – cab fare mapping and pricing. The feature covers 54 cities around the world, including many major tourist destinations. Simply enter your region, departure and arrival points, and Bing will provide a route and estimated fare.

In the few tests I threw at it, the calculation seemed very accurate, and it takes all parts of the fee into account, including the initial charge. What it won’t calculate are special costs like curbside pickup and luggage fees. It also does not appear to calculate tolls into its estimate.

Still, if you are heading somewhere and need an idea of how much a cab ride will cost, this is a very convenient tool, and one that could potentially save you some money if you need to pick the best way to get from A to B.

The new feature is part of the King of Bing Maps competition, which resulted in some pretty neat map tools. Click here for the cab fare tool, and take it for a spin to see whether its results are reliable.

(Via: Mashable)

Vermont cab driver offers “pay what you want” fares

Websites like eBay and Priceline let consumers pay what they want for everything from designer gowns to airline tickets. Now, if you live in Essex, Vermont, you can exercise that same financial control when it comes to taxi fares. Eric Hagen, a part-time cab driver has been offering “pay what you want” rides in his Recession Ride Taxi since June.

Hagen not only offers passengers the right to pay whatever they feel is fair for the ride, he also applies his unique pricing model to cold drinks available in the cab, and offers a “frequent rider” punch card. After 7 paid rides, your next trip is free.

The local Days Inn now uses Hagen to transport guests to the airport whenever possible, and Hagen says he has been so successful that he’s thinking about expanding and hiring more drivers. He says no one has undercut him, though he has been paid with items like a $10 grocery card and a music CD.

Unfortunately, I doubt this business model could become widely popular, as taxi companies are strictly regulated and drivers are required to turn on their meters for every fare. But perhaps a few intrepid private cab operators will follow Hagen’s lead and bring “pay what you want” fares to more locations around the country.


[via CNBC]

Family leaves child in the back of a cab

First some poor kid was left sleeping on a park bench when his family drove off without him in their motor home. Now another sleeping kid has gotten left behind, this time in a cab that her family had taken from the airport to their house in Boston. When they got inside, they realized the five-year old child wasn’t with them, and called the police.

The police were able to locate the cab driver, who had no idea he was carrying extra cargo. He returned the child to her parents and received a $50 tip. Then he found out he might face suspension of his license for failing to thoroughly check the backseat. The driver appealed and on Tuesday, according to the Boston Herald, police dropped the suspension with a warning for the cabbie to check his car more carefully next time.

Just another reason to make sure you keep tabs on your belongings at all times when traveling. . . especially if those “belongings” are your children.

Oktoberfest can be expensive… especially if you take a £2,000 cab to get there

Have you ever missed a flight? It’s a stressful and frustrating situation, especially if you have a carefully planned out itinerary that requires your presence in certain places at certain times. When a man named Dave missed his flight from Portsmouth to Munich — where he was to celebrate his friend’s bachelor party by drinking beer at Oktoberfest — he decided to forgo the airlines. Instead he hailed a cab.

“I thought he was having a laugh to start off with or it was one of my cabbie mates doing a wind-up on me but he was deadly serious,” says Mick Hogan, the cab driver who was hailed down by Dave. Hogan explained that the cab ride would cost £1,950 plus £250 for the English Channel tunnel and a hotel for the night, but the high price didn’t stop the passenger; it was Munich or bust.

The drive from Portsmouth to Munich certainly isn’t a short one, but Hogan didn’t find the task so boring after all, “It’s not something I’d want to do every day but it beats taking a few pensioners out to the shops.”