The taxi and private hire industry have come a long way since the horse and carts of the 1600s, but, in the last 25 years, the industry has seen exponential growth with the emergence and continued development of a variety of technology solutions.
In this article, you will get the knowledge regarding how technology has helped shape the transport industry, from pen and paper to mobile data terminals and cloud-based dispatch software.
Pen and Paper:
In the early days, the taxi and private hire industry procedures were simple. Bookings were used to come in from passengers, the office had to record the details and passed the info on to the driver. Drivers had to complete their job and then return to the office to get the next one.
Booking Systems / Databases:
As the popularity of taxis continued to increase, simple booking systems such as plotting boards started to emerge. These systems allowed dispatchers in the office to schedule bookings as they came to complete their duties successfully.
The use of tracking and plotting boards was the start of booking systems as we know them today. By knowing roughly where their drivers were, and perhaps more importantly, where they were going to be, firms used to provide better customer service and process jobs quicker.
Data Dispatch Systems:
With the development of tracking and plotting boards, specialist technology companies saw an opportunity to develop solutions to help firms improve their services even further. Early innovators offered data dispatch systems designed to improve efficiency and overall profitability.
Furthermore, the new systems were among the first to link a computer system in the office with a vehicle, enabling information to be transferred between the two. It started with simple details such as driver location and car availability, improving the experience for all involved.
Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs):
As more and more data dispatch systems were developed, the importance of Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) increased. These terminals played a crucial role in transferring data and information between offices and vehicles and helped drive the industry forward.
Early Mobile Data Terminals were limited in their functionality and used radio waves to transmit data. As technology advanced, Terminals using GPS such as Autocab’s D21 came and went, and were replaced by hybrid systems combining both radio and GPS such as Autocab’s Sigma+.
Further advancements brought driver aides such as rolling maps, integrated satnavs and touchscreen displays (Autocab’s Minos) as well as GPRS only systems and started the transition towards personal digital assistants (PDAs).
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs):
As the taxi and private hire industry began to transition to PDAs, a new threat to the industry emerged. Uber, based in the US, entered the market in 2010 and sent shockwaves through the industry. Taking advantage of mobile app technologies, they provided apps for both passengers and drivers; enabling them to achieve 100% automation in the process.
Both Uber and the existing technology providers made the switch to PDAs; the industry was able to send more extensive and more detailed data packets between the office and drivers, taking advantage of the extensive GPRS networks, offering passengers unparalleled customer service. Nowadays, passengers know who their driver is, what car they drive and, in the case of passenger apps, exactly where their driver is and when they’ll arrive.
With the widespread adoption of the internet, it was only a matter of time before dispatch providers deployed their software via the cloud. Cloud-based systems have enabled staff in offices to log on and work from any location.
The switch to Cloud-based systems is just the latest in a long line of developments in the transport industry. Now, passengers can book a car over the phone; using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) using a mobile app.
Advanced cloud-based software is available that is revolutionizing the on-demand industry. Uber is a famous example of managing staff and providing services using a mobile app. Uber-like ride-hailing platforms are available to improve the performance of the transport industry.
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