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Vodafone launches mobile payments for taxis

Vodafone has launched a mobile payment option specially for taxi journeys and has kitted out a number of London cabs with mobile phone chargers.

Vodafone users who lose their wallet or find their taxi fare is more expensive than expected can foot the bill with calls or by SMS instead. Passengers simply call up Vodafone and give the number of the branded taxi or they text the number and the payment amount instead. There is no charge for this service.

Branded taxis will also feature built-in mobile phone chargers, which answers the question of what happens if someone's mobile goes dead before a payment goes through. It also ensures that those long, drunken taxi calls that bring in Vodafone a pretty penny go ahead without disruption.

The move marks the latest in a series of efforts by Vodafone to upgrade its service in London. Over the last few months it has increased coverage and capacity in 500 of its sites around th capital and said it expects to make further investments in the region over the coming months and years.

Starting immediately hundreds of cabs around London will be decked out in a Union Jack design with Vodafone branding, which the company has affectionately called 'taxi wrapping'. The design will feature 2,000 London street names, which is probably meant to be artistic, but will more likely confuse tourists.

If that were not enough, Vodafone is launching self-branded trains at Heathrow Express next week. If planes and spacecraft weren't so far up we'd probably see Vodafone wrapping on those too.

Good to see all that money it saves not paying taxes is being put to good use.