Now computers join war on London’s pirate minicabs

Computers are being installed in pubs, bars, restaurants and hotel foyers for late-night revellers to get cabs home safely—as part of the campaign to rid London of illegal touts.

They are being installed by an East London car hire firm for passengers to book mincabs home on-screen after a late night out and avoid the pirate operators.

The scheme is the brainchild of Amarjit Pall, managing director of West One Cars in Shoreditch, aimed at supporting the Mayor of London’s fight against unlicensed operators which has led to 1,300 arrests in the last 12 months alone.

“The tout on the side of the road suddenly becomes tempting after a night out when people have had a drink and just want to get home,” he said.

“But the ‘kiosk’ computer means you don’t have to fumble for a number or even make a phone call—just press a few buttons and wait safely till the car arrives.”

Customers enter a destination address and mobile contact number while the pick-up address is automatically logged, or can be changed to an alternative. The computer gives the car registration and a text message can be sent when the car is about to arrive.