TLCtaxi, aka @TweetaLondonCab, is the service that is hoping to help connect customers to drivers in London. We are a collective, or community, of licensed London Taxi Drivers who started out using Twitter as a means of keeping in touch while we work; updating each other on roadworks, work opportunities and general cabbie chit-chat. Over time we started receiving requests from followers to book us, so the obvious next step was to try and harness the power of Twitter to launch a formal London Taxi booking service. Thus, @tweetalondoncab was born.
Initially we were quite a small group of drivers, so we started slowly, testing out how the service could work and seeing where it could take us. Even now, over 2 years on, because of the relatively small number of drivers registered with TLC, compared to the big Taxi radio circuits, we are a service that is primarily aimed at pre-booked journeys, rather than the 'it's 2am on a Saturday morning, I'm standing on the Strand and can't find a Taxi', type of journey. However, we always try to help out wherever possible..!
How TweetaLondonCab Was Born....
After a few meetings in various cabbie watering holes and a final meeting in an old petrol station car park in deepest Southwark, Karl James and Richard Cudlip made the executive decision to launch @tweetalondoncab on Friday 3rd July 2009.
After much umming and not a small amount of ahhing over the previous few weeks, they felt it was better just to go for it, launch the concept and see what happened.
Some days later, Richard was at Tuttle sitting in St James's Park trying to find a way of connecting to the Internet, while Karl sent out some initial tweets announcing the birth of TLC. Within minutes their messages were being re-tweeted everywhere. One person who arrived at Tuttle around midday had already heard of TLC before being introduced to Richard...a nice moment.
Within minutes it seemed that we were being re-tweeted everywhere. A link to Richards's blog was sent out and that was also getting plenty of views, over 450 in total on the first day. TLC quickly got to 150 followers, and certainly created a little bit of a buzz in the twitter world. All in all an excellent start even if it didn't create many jobs, but we'd got our name out there and people knew about us, we just needed to keep spreading the word and hopefully the work would start to steadily build. The buzz from our 'launch' continued for the next couple of weeks and Richard even ended up on Channel 4 news to talk about TLC. Various other media outlets also picked up on the story (as you can see here). Followers slowly increased and a few more people started to use the service, helped along the way by great support from our twitter friends and the odd celebrity Twitter endorsement!