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Mobile phone users in London should soon be able to hail the capital's black cabs simply by using their mobile phones.

The location-based service comes from an outfit called Zingo, which, incidentally is owned by MBH, the company that makes London's taxis.

Anyhow, Zingo uses mobile technology to put passengers directly in contact with black cab drivers in their area that are free for a fare.

When a punter calls Zingo from their mobile, location-based technology pinpoints where they are. At the same time, global positioning satellites identify Zingo taxis in the area that are free.

Then, punters are automatically connected to an available cab driver in their area before the prospective passenger tells the cabbie exactly where they are. Bingo.

The charge for the Zingo service is £1.60 a throw, which is added to punters' fare.

The service goes live next week with 500 of London's 20,000 black cabs fitted with the technology. Some 3,000 cabs should have the gear by the end of the year.

The service is available to customers of Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2. Talks with Orange and 3 are still ongoing although the negotiations are described as "positive".

Other UK cities including, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow are said to be interested in the technology. Plus, Zingo is also getting some interest from cities in the US, Europe and Asia. ®

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