Over the last few years, there have been some extraordinary changes in the way fleets of taxis are run. New technology and business models put forward by the likes of Uber have transformed the way the industry is run and here we investigate the changing face of the taxi fleet sector.
The Technology Behind the Changes
Advances in communication technology and global positioning systems (GPS) technology are at the forefront of the changes we are seeing in the industry.
Drivers now receive digital information that tells them when a fare has been booked, where the customers are to be picked up and where they are to be dropped off. Whilst en route the driver’s satnav helps them determine the quickest route and helps them avoid accidents and congestion.
In addition, passengers now book taxis in a completely new way. The use of apps has become widespread and the customer can book a ride and then monitor its progress as it makes its way to them.
When the cab arrives for a pickup, a message is sent to the customer advising them that the car has arrived. The app also takes the guess work out of how much will be charged for the ride – the cost is communicated in advance via the app.
All this new technology has made significant improvements to the experience, for both the driver and the passengers, but it not just the technology that has changed.
Taxi Fleet Business Model
This is an asset for the driver and their business and they are able to use the vehicle exclusively, as and when they decide they want to work – this flexibility is something that many modern taxi drivers finds a great deal of value in.
The new business model also offers drivers the opportunity to operate in more niche markets. For example, there is growing demand for luxury taxi vehicles – indeed Uber started out as a luxury brand with the tagline “Everyone’s Private Driver”.
There has, of course, been some resistance to the new face of the taxi fleet sector, it was widely reported when Uber temporarily lost its licence to operate in London and black cab drivers have been slow to adopt the technology.
The technology and the business model, however, are here to stay and will continue to be developed and refined whilst we continue to plot the changing face of the taxi sector.