Nothing beats a taxi driver’s local knowledge of road networks, places of interest, routes and more... but what do cabbies use when faced with a location or area they are unfamiliar with?
TaxiPoint asked cabbies which traffic app was best for taxi drivers. Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps and Cabbies Mate were all mentioned and used for different reasons.
Scottish taxi driver Craig Easton said: “If I'm in a area I don't know I use Waze as it's better for cameras, roadworks and things like that.
“However Google Maps is far better at night to pinpoint house numbers.”
Robert Bate also used Google Maps to pinpoint places of interest. He said: “Google Maps for landmark navigation if you don’t know the address. People seem to know a hidden restaurants name, but never the actual address.”
Keith Hehir-Lynch commended the use of apps in more vast rural districts. He said: “Most Taxi drivers work outside of London with massive geographical areas to cover, crossing various counties. Waze etc simply give you instant options when your chosen route is not available.”
Some taxi drivers claim to never have used an app to locate places they don’t know, while some remain old school with paper copy maps.
Overall the consensus was that traffic apps cannot be relied on to provide the best routes, nothing beats local knowledge. However, cabbies do use the apps to locate addresses and door numbers, get an idea of traffic levels and to alert them of speed cameras.
Technology used as a tool alongside the driver’s knowledge cannot be beaten.
Why do cabbies use Waze?
Taxi drivers have recently been urged to look at the popular traffic and navigational app Waze to help keep to changing speed limits and stay up to date with new road restrictions.
The real-time traffic app also has a handy ‘Taxi’ mode that takes into account bus lanes, unlike many other navigational apps on the market.
Multiple road network changes were made throughout the pandemic. Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes popped up creating havoc for drivers returning back to the industry after coronavirus lockdowns.
There are also a number of new speed cameras in the capital. Roads have shifted from 30mph speed limits to 20mph. According to the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), cameras on Bayswater Road, Euston Road, and Park Lane, all places where the speed limit has changed recently, are catching drivers out.
Kanize Cozens, LTDA Membership Senior Officer, said in TAXI Newspaper: “Something that might help drivers is using a navigation app that shows you what the restrictions are as you drive along and alerts you when you are doing something wrong.
“These also show you where there is congestion (more congestion than usual) so you can avoid the worst of the traffic.
“I’m a big fan of technology. When it comes to setting off on a journey, even one I do on a regular basis, I always set up Waze.
“There are other similar apps out there, but for me, this is the most user friendly and has the most useful features on it, particularly for cabbies, who already know where they are going.
“You can set Waze to ‘Taxi’ under ‘Vehicle Type’, which takes into account the use of bus lanes. It’s also often more up to date and accurate than other satellite navigation apps as other Waze users share information on things such as potholes, police enforcement, accidents, or objects on the road. Most importantly, if you’re driving over the speed limit, a visual alert will appear on the Waze speedometer. It will stay there until your speed drops below the limit.”