New York just purchased six Ford Escape hybrids to try to combat the amount of gas the taxi companies are using to haul people around. What if they used a centralized dispatch system that sent any taxi that was the closest to the caller to the home, instead of the customer having to call a certain taxi cab.
Its already happening in Korea and Taiwan, but I first heard about this at the 12th Annual World Congress of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Taxis will be linked to the central dispatch center that is equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System) and GSM/GPRS communication system to help keep track of their location.
The control center knows each taxis situation such as vacant, busy or ” off-duty” conditions. The control center can automatically dispatch the nearest vacant taxi to the customer in the shortest time. This high-tech management system saves time and money for the customer and the taxi fleet.
According to a report by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) for Taiwan, there are around 97,000 taxicabs in Taiwan. On average, each taxi driver works 10 hours and drives 150 kilometers per day, earning about US$800 per month. The report also states that for about three hours each workday, taxis carry no passengers.
” Clearly our taxi drivers work long hours with too low an income,” said Wang Mu-heng, director of the Institute of Transportation (IOT)s management division. In a press release he said that the ITS software developed by his institute is meant to increase taxi companies dispatch efficiency and provide other services for both drivers and passengers.
” Through this system, which uses global positioning system (GPS) technology, the dispatch center of the taxi company is able to monitor the whereabouts of it’s taxis via video map. As soon as someone telephones the center for a taxi, the nearest available one will be informed to promptly pick up the caller,” Wang said.
What is more, an emergency button will be installed under the drivers seat that can be used to inform the operations center of emergencies such as robbery. Having received the signal, the center can immediately request the police to go to the rescue and will be able to inform them of the taxis location by checking the GPS tracking system monitor.
” Additionally, an English-Japanese-Chinese language translation service can be provided through the system for the convenience of passengers who do not speak Mandarin,” said Wang.
Intelligent tracking is coming, and it will save thousands of gallons of gas to the taxi service and time for the customer.