Remember when pen and paper were used to dispatch taxi bookings? The history of the taxi industry is rich and has experienced a significant transformation in the past few decades. The use of taxis has evolved from pen and paper to radio dispatching to more seamless and automated technology.
In the past, booking and dispatching a taxi took time and effort. Customers would have to call a taxi company or stand in line at a taxi stand and wait for a taxi to arrive. Dispatchers would manually assign a taxi to the customer, often resulting in long wait times. With the introduction of radio dispatching, the process became much more efficient.
Dispatchers could allocate taxis to customers, and drivers could quickly respond to requests enabling faster response times and better customer experience.
Today, the dispatching and booking of taxis have become even more efficient with seamless technologies like purpose-built dedicated taxi booking devices, automated call centres, QR code taxi booking, automated dispatch systems, push notifications, POS and in- app payments, and many more.
This World Radio Day, has allowed us to acknowledge how the taxi industry has evolved, transitioning from radio-based dispatching to modern, seamless technology.
TRADITIONAL RADIO DISPATCH TO MORE SEAMLESS DISPATCHING SYSTEMS
Taxis became prominent worldwide in the early 20th century. The first significant innovation in the taxi industry after the taximeter in the late 1940s was the two-way radios. Radio facilitated taxis and dispatchers to communicate and serve customers more efficiently than previous methods, such as using callboxes, a special telephone at a taxi stand to contact the dispatch office.
The traditional radio dispatch involved calling a taxi company and speaking to an operator who assigned a taxi to the customer. The operator manually kept track of all the available taxis, their locations, and the customer’s destination, making it a time-consuming process and often resulting in long wait times.
With the advancement of technology, taxi company owners with a customer-centric approach embraced GPS tracking to improve their taxi service. GPS tracking also enhanced the safety of their vehicles, which could now track the exact location of their vehicles and assign them to customers more quickly. According to the new market research report the GPS tracking device, the market is expected to reach USD 2.89 Billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 12.91% between 2017 and 2023. The next major innovation after the GPS in the taxi industry occurred in the 1980s when computer-assisted dispatching was introduced, allowing for more efficient communication between dispatchers and drivers.
The traditional radio dispatch systems are becoming increasingly obsolete as more seamless dispatching systems are developed, profoundly reshaping the current taxi service. As passengers demand better service from public transportation to keep up with their fast-paced life, the pressure on the public transportation system has increased exponentially, thus also increasing the demand for taxis worldwide. The global taxi market, which was valued at $69.18 billion in 2019, is projected to reach $120.89 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 12.3% from 2020 to 2027.
BENEFITS OF MOVING TO AUTOMATED, SEAMLESS DISPATCH
Adopting a taxi dispatch solution has proved to be a game-changer in many ways:
Improved efficiency: Automated, seamless dispatch systems help streamline the process of dispatching taxis, reducing the time and effort required, leading to improved efficiency and cost savings for fleets
Better customer satisfaction with shorter wait times: Automated dispatch systems reduced wait times for customers as they can quickly and easily allocate bookings to nearby drivers via GPS. Automated dispatch systems can improve customer satisfaction by providing a more seamless and efficient experience.
Lower barriers to entry for new fleets: Automated dispatch systems reduce hardware installation and costs and) help to reduce the time and effort required to dispatch taxis, which can encourage new drivers and fleets to get started in their local town
Improved safety: Automated dispatch systems ensure drivers are aware of their routes and are tracked in real time, which helped improve safety, record-keeping and fuel efficiency
Easy growth: Automated dispatch systems became more efficient for passengers and drivers, providing less dead mileage, thus, enabling easy growth.
Today, taxi fleets have adapted to new ways to facilitate their operations. As technology continues to be the driving force behind the evolution of the taxi industry, taxi companies have already moved to end-to-end dispatch solutions that improve business efficiency and perations and facilitate local passengers to book taxis through the web, app and phone.
The systems are usually cloud-based and enable customers to book a taxi through a device, a QR code, a web browser or a mobile app and dispatch it to their location.
The system also allows taxi companies to monitor their fleet in real-time, tracking the driver location, fuel consumption, driver performance, and customer feedback, allowing them to optimise their fleet and provide better customer service. Taxi booking and dispatch systems are becoming more advanced than ever, with automation driven by advanced AI making it possible to almost fully automate booking and dispatch and making it easier for customers to book a taxi and for companies to manage fleets.
As Mark Twain says, “twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did”. Where do you think the industry is headed as we move with time and embrace the next big innovations that will impact the taxi industry?
ARTICLE BY: LAURENCE DOCHERTY, HEAD OF SALES AT TAXI BUTLER