by Al Sacco

RideCharge: Reserve Taxis, Pay Fares Sans Cash Via BlackBerry

Jun 19, 20082 mins
Enterprise Applications

Finding and paying for cab rides just got a whole lot easier.

You may already have GPS-based mobile mapping applications, local search on your smartphone or even a mobile nightlife-hotspot finder to help you navigate strange cities while travelling. But RideCharge, a new mobile app for a variety of feature phones, BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile devices, lets you book cab, limo and van rides directly from your handset, as well as compare options for travel, and pay fares without cash or a credit card on hand.

Screenshot of RideCharge on BlackBerry

You need only create an account on using the e-mail address associated with your smartphone, if available, and a password. Then follow the instructions for setting up a mobile payment plan and download the mobile app. After the initial setup process is complete, just launch the program, fill in pick up and drop-off points and the number of passengers, and RideCharge will get to work finding some nearby wheels. You can even receive ride confirmations via SMS text, e-mail or Outlook calendar invites. And if your car’s not on time, or you experience any other service issues, you can always contact the transportation company via RideCharge’s “Call Provider” option.

When it comes time to pay, users pick the trip they want from a list of current rides and choose “Pay for this Ride” from their options menu. Once a short list of instructions is completed, an electronic record is created and stored in an online e-receipts folder. The e-receipts option can do away with the need to keep paper records, and it can also help organizations reduce fraud by confirming that a specific ride took place, the vendor says.

Though RideCharge app for BlackBerry or Windows Mobile devices is free (the Windows version is still in beta,) there’s a small fee for using the service. And unfortunately, it only works in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area, New York Metro, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, Kansas City, Charlotte, Nashville, Portland, OR, Phoenix, Austin, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Tampa. The company is expanding the service, however, adding roughly four cities each month, according to a message thread on BlackBerry forum

The only issue now is deciding whether or not you’re ready to embrace the whole mobile payment process—something many consumers are still strongly resisting.