We've been touring the mean streets of San Francisco this week, and when we ended up at a party a little too far away from the hotel the other night, TUAW's own Victor Agreda pulled out Taxi Magic, an app he'd recently downloaded on his iPhone.
It's a free application on the App Store, and it uses your location to automatically show you a list of taxi services at your disposal. If you're too far away for one of Taxi Magic's partner services, the app works like a yellow pages -- you can browse the various companies and call one for a taxi whenever you want. But if you're in one of the 25 US cities that offer booking within the app, you can do what Victor did: hit a button, page a taxi to your location, and then have your phone notify you when the taxi has arrived.
Like magic, we spent a few extra minutes chatting up developers at the party, and then when his phone went off again, we stepped outside and immediately into a cab.
If you want to go a step further, you can even create an account with the app, inputting your credit card number, and automatically charging the taxi ride through the service (so you don't have to fumble over change to pay the cabbie). That service is extra -- $1.50, which is basically what you'd pay to get the cash you need out of an ATM anyway.
But if you just want to page a taxi without stepping out onto the street and holding your hand up, Taxi Magic works wonders. And version 2.0, released just about a week ago, offers up a new redesign and the ability to set a default taxi provider (if you happen to make a lot of trips in cabs). If you do a lot of business traveling, or ilve in an area where taxis are an occasional must, Taxi Magic is definitely a spell worth casting.