Perhaps not the best week to launch a Cairo taxi iPhone app
Spare a thought for HoodHot, a San Francisco-based mobile travel app developer which saw the big launch of its new Cairo taxi guide this week somewhat overshadowed.
The app uses maps and search system so visitors can find their way around the vast city using a combination of English, which is then translated into Arabic.
Phrases and directions are placed on large cards within the app, making it easier to show drivers where a visitor wants to head to in the city.
The company says:
“Taxi drivers don’t speak English, and you don’t know the local address for the restaurant you wanted to go to. Add on the fact that Cairo is constantly changing and you soon realize—you’re lost. That’s why we created the Taxi Guide series – directories filled with big, bold-faced addresses in Arabic that show the driver exactly where you want to go.”
Unfortunately as the iPhone application was being released by Apple into the appstore, the Egyptian capital was descending into increasing levels of violence and unrest, with many tourists fleeing the main cities for the beach town of Sharm-el-Shelk or simply flying home.
To its credit, HoodHot has dropped the download fee for the app for the foreseeable future, as it wants “to offer a bit of assistance to travelers, expats, and locals in this time of crisis”.
“Though Cairo is very chaotic right now and traditional transportation may not be an option, we hope that the app may be able to help users in other ways.”
Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in early-2017.