Airport Taxi Why Not Novacab Service?
As a Special Case Airport Taxi
Some deregulation proponents are less opposed to airport taxi regulation than to regulation of other taxi services. They argue that if an airport regulates prices for taxis in its taxi queues, such regulation has fewer disadvantages than city-wide regulation. An airport may determine prices or organize different queues for taxi services of different qualities and prices. It can be argued whether rules set by the owner of an airport are regulation or just a business model.
Airport Taxi Dispatching
In this scene from It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, a yellow cab driver, played by Peter Falk, contacts his dispatch through a callbox on the street. Two-way radio communication hadn’t become a standard by the time the film was made in the early 1960s.
The activity of taxi fleets is usually monitored and controlled by a central office, which provides dispatching, accounting, and human resources services to one or more taxi companies. Taxi owners and drivers usually communicate with the dispatch office through either a 2-way radio or a computer terminal (called a mobile data terminal). Before the innovation of radio dispatch in the 1950s, taxi drivers would use a callbox—a special telephone at a taxi stand—to contact the dispatch office.
When a customer calls for a taxi, a trip is dispatched by either radio or computer, via an in-vehicle mobile data terminal, to the most suitable cab. The most suitable cab may either be the one closest to the pick-up address (often determined by GPS coordinates nowadays) or the one that was the first to book into the “zone” surrounding the pickup address. Cabs are sometimes dispatched from their taxi stands; a call to “Top of the 2” means that the first cab in line at stand #2 is supposed to pick someone up.
In offices using radio dispatch, taxi locations are often tracked using magnetic pegs on a “board”—a metal sheet with an engraved map of taxi zones. In computerized dispatch, the status of taxis is tracked by the computer system.
Taxi frequencies are generally licensed in duplex pairs. One frequency is used for the dispatcher to talk to the cabs, and a second frequency is used to the cabs to talk back. This means that the drivers generally cannot talk to each other. Some cabs have a CB radio in addition to the company radio so they can speak to each other.
In the United States, there is a Taxicab Radio Service with pairs assigned for this purpose. A taxi company can also be licensed in the Business Radio Service. Business frequencies in the UHF range are also licensed in pairs to allow for repeaters, though taxi companies usually use the pair for duplex communications.
Some companies don’t operate their own radio system and instead subscribe to an Specialized Mobile Radio system. The conventional radios are most suited to companies that operate within the local area and have a high volume of radio traffic. The SMR is more commonly used by black car services that cover a wider area, and smaller companies who use less airtime and don’t want to run their own radio systems. With the advent of public data networks in the 1990s, operators are beginning to use PDAs and advanced mobile phones for dispatching and tracking functions in lieu of the traditional radio. Some small car services don’t use a dispatcher at all. Instead the customers’ calls are forwarded to the cell phones of whichever drivers are on duty at the time.
In many countries however, the influence of mobile telecom operators through 8294 premium short code or alikes, which direct millions of mobile calls to the TAXI companies contracted (as 188.8.131.52 shortcode means T.A.X.I on any mobile phone worldwide), do influence the business trends when hailing for a TAXI, already impacted initially by the emergence of large radio dispatching private or virtual networks. Also independent taxi owners, as well as TAXI companies started in response to advertise long vanity phone numbers including 8294 number as vanity code for TAXI, for customer easy remembering of their commercial line when in need for a TAXI. Because of the overwhelming possession and use of mobile phone, the battle has moved to smartphone related marketing and mobile services CRM for taxi, through mobile universal directories of TAXI details, available worldwide on any mobile phone downtown or at the airport, as mobile directories such as www.8294.tel alternatively to yellow pages paper book edition, and also in competition with the launch of multiple mobile apps offering location services, taxis fare calculation, as well as direct call to TAXIs contracted by app editor. The ongoing trend of mobile usage is reshaping progressively the taxi business initially born as a nearly fixed infrastructure business regulated and ruled by City Halls.
Taxi dispatch is evolving in connection to the telecom sector with the advent of smart-phones. In some countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and USA smartphone applications are emerging that connect taxi drivers directly with passengers for the purpose of dispatching taxi jobs, launching new battles for the marketing of such apps over the potential mass of Taxi users.
Taxi Fares are set by the State and City where they are permitted to operate. The fare includes the ‘drop’, a set amount that is tallied for getting into the taxi plus the ‘per mile’ rate as has been set by the City. The taxi meters track time as well as miles in a typical taxi fare.