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Taxis And GPS: A Match Made In Heaven
In today’s world, anyone who stops and really thinks about taxis just assumes that they all use GPS tracking systems. It’s a no-brainer. A GPS tracking system and the Taxi business just go hand in hand with each other, and there are very good reasons why. Before GPS Tracking systems, communication with central control and each other ways much more difficult. Cell phones and smart phones either hadn’t been invented yet, or were not small enough and portable enough to do the job. Two way radios were about the only viable solution, and those had range limitations.
Before two way radios, taxis would queue up near busy intersections, or designated taxi stands, hoping that they would get a fare. If you needed an emergency taxi from your home, you would call the central office and wait until the next taxi went back to the office to be sent out to fetch you.
Once the radios made it into the cabs, things became slightly faster, but much more dangerous. Radios that were always turned on caused annoying white noise when no one was on the system, and distracting chatter when contracts were being called out to other cabs. When phones started to make it to the market that were small enough to put in the cabs, they were often to expensive for the businesses. Whether it was a radio or a phone, receiving a call took at least one of the driver’s hands away from the wheel, and diverted his attention. We all know today that distracted driving increases the risk of an accident exponentially.
A taxi company’s central office was a hectic place, with a horde of operators receiving contracts, and then calling out on the radio system, asking for whomever was closest to the contract’s location to answer and take the fare. It was impossible to guess which car might be closest to the contract at any given time.
Competitions and tensions broke out among the drivers, some of whom wanted to work more, and so would answer to calls that they knew they were not very close to, while other drivers who wanted to be lazy would not answer, even if they were very close. Off-use driving was extremely common. Since no one could tell where a driver was, or whether they had a fare, drivers would use their vehicles for personal use all the time: grocery shopping, picking up kids from school, or even small vacations. All on the company gas money of course.
Taxi businesses were nevertheless profitable, but in many cases it came down to whichever company had the most vehicles, because they could cover more area and out perform the competition based on volume alone. Profits were inevitably lower than they could have been because there was no way to control the vehicles and even the best planning relied on luck.
This lack of coordination and control was finally turned around when GPS Tracking systems finally came to market. Central control could actually see, in real time where their drivers were, and direct them to fares accordingly. They no longer had to rely on the individual driver’s reliability and desire to work. Rather than calling all cars and hoping an appropriate one answered, now they could call just a single car to get the job done.
GPS also boosted the prestige of the drivers. No longer would a customer get in the cab, ask to go to a place, and have the driver admit they needed directions – either from the customer or from central control. That situation was a thing of the past. This new tool they had could route them using accurate, computerized maps down the most optimized path to get them anywhere a client might need to go.
Everyone knows the reputation of taxi drivers for being extreme drivers, speeding from place to place, running red lights and through stop signs. When no one was watching them, these behaviours might just allow them to pick up an extra fare, or get rid of one they had quicker. But these behaviours were harmful to the business’s reputation and potentially dangerous for the driver and the client. With GPS tracking today, these types of behaviours can be curbed quickly and efficiently; with notifications sent to central control, or even in- cab notifications for the drivers when the system recognizes speeding or irresponsible driving.
It’s just a matter of time before all taxi businesses are using GPS tracking systems. The systems improve profitability and reliability so much that no taxi business can hope to be competitive without one. Drivers that have GPS systems are also appear more trustworthy to clients because they do not need assistance in finding a location and seem more knowledgeable. The business prospers because contracts are picked up faster and the reputation for having safe drivers grows. GPS tracking systems and taxi businesses are surely a match made in heaven. With a GPS System, you can control your fleet, reduce wait times for your customers and challenge your drivers to be as safe as possible