Revolutionising the Taxi business: now or never

Years ago KVD designed and App that enabled taxi clients to rate their ride. In an attempt to correct the behavior of a notorious minority of Amsterdam Taxi drivers, the App collected reviews, assessed the drivers, and made them available to the public. We stated that in a genuinely honest taxi market, taxi drivers would not be afraid to display their rating in their rooflights.

 

When we presented ourselves and our plans to the taxi ecosystem, the business appeared to be amazingly lo-tech. Also debates over regulations, liberation and increasing competition left them is a cramped state unwilling to consider major steps in any direction. To our dissapointment the various stakeholders never took a serious interest in the App. Mostly because it was thought to be prone to fraud and too expensive for a oversaturated market. A smart sales person would have pointed out: exactly the reasons why the taxi business should embrace the App!

 

The fact is: Taxi cabs represent a ridiculously inefficient transport mode: empty cars waiting or circling around for a ride make up a very serious portion of the fleet. No wonder taxi rides are expensive. Dispatch methods often involve people behind phones adding even more resistance into the system.

Remedying the dispatch system alone will improve the efficiency. Another problem is that Taxi drivers face serious prejudice: a lot of travelers are convinced that all drivers will take advantage of your ignorance or helplessness. Establishing a basic level of trust will enable taxi drivers to successfully target a much larger potential client base. And then off course the money: The price of a ride has not been significantly lowered by liberating the taxi system. The taxi market could be easily multiplied by lowering prices significantly. Improved dispatch, trust and lower fares...all three of them, someday an App will deliver.

 

By failing to act, the taxi industry faces the scenario that stirred up the Hotel business: people bypassing hotels by Airbnb. As soon as Apps live up to the above promises, the taxi business may find themselves obsolete.

 

By now, we are certainly not the ones developing taxi-apps. They even have become a hot thing in some areas: The most promising one is Uber (https://www.uber.com/#). And Uber is already doing what the taxi industry should fear: enabling the individual car owner to offer their cars as cabs. That may not only be a threat to the taxi industry but it could also make car ownership obsolete. Or public transport...

If you have smartphone that allows you to call for a ride and see it coming to you in real time, meanwhile offering you to check its credentials, being in a position to check the routing, and rating the service...if that happens, transportation could make a serious, very serious step in efficiency.

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