One of the biggest challenges to whoever lives in Shanghai and does not dominates the Mandarin (or the local Shanghainese) is to communicate with the taxi driver to get exactly where you want to go.
If you have an iPhone, there are many applications to help you out in this case. We decided to test the most expensive one. Hoodhot offers Shanghai Taxi Guide for US$ 9.99. With 700+ venues offered in the app, you can choose between restaurants, services, shopping and even sports venues.
The interface is rather simple, looks like the contacts app, which can be disappointed by one side and very straight forward to the other, since you will clearly know where to go to get info. You have a search button on the top if you know the venue you are already looking for or you can browse through the categories to choose a restaurant to go, for example.
If you have your favourite place, you can add to the favourite list so it’s easier to acess it later and if by any chance the venue you are looking for is not there, you can add it. On this latest version, Hoodhot added a good usage of the GPS, now you can check venues close to your current position.
Most of venues cards are pretty informative with site, email and phones, besides obviously, the address but the main feature of the app is the button Show Taxi Card where the address is shown in landscape mode in large Chinese characters so you can show the taxi driver. This is incredibly helpful considering that if you try to speak the address, there is a huge chance of the driver does not even think you are speaking Mandarin.
The software has some bugs. I tried to add a venue where the street name in Pynyin (western characters) had a ‘ in the name ( Ya’nan Rd) but the new venue would not be added. Also, the field for the venue’s email was too short so a name like “email@example.com” would not fit. I sent one e-mail to the developer and promptly he answered that they would correct those bugs as soon as possible and will soon update the venues with plans to have it stored on a server, making it easier to users to update.
If you going to stay for a while in Shanghai, it’s a great app to have on your iPhone.
Where to download: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shanghai-taxi-guide/id292704635?mt=8
Published 12th May, 2010 Categories Shanghai