How GPS Helps The Cab Get There Faster

from the get-there-before-I-hang-up dept

An article from SF Gate about how successful Luxor Cab Company in San Francisco has been with installing a GPS system to help dispatch cabs to pickup locations at a faster rate. Apparently, it’s cut the time from call to pickup down nearly by 50%. It’s also made the company more reliable about actually picking up people and finding the best route. Not surprisingly, other cab companies are quickly following with plans of thier own to add GPS systems.

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Comments on “How GPS Helps The Cab Get There Faster”

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Anonymous Coward says:

My perfect example of a geolocation service desperately waiting to
happen involved cab/taxi service in Australia. As you may or may not
know, cab service involves an autodispatch service to which almost
every cab subscribes (priced at ~AU$500/month). For this, the cab
drivers are automatically fed fare data from those fares who have
taken the time to call the phone number. GPS information is fed from
the cab to the dispatch service. My dilemma usually involved needing a
specialized cab, not knowing where a good spot was to hale cabs from,
not having a phone or not wanting to call the fscking dispatch service
(usually busy *and* nosy). I would have killed for a simple web page
(WAP) to which I could have surfed that shows *exactly* where the cab
meeting my specifications was waiting for a fare. It would have been
so extremely simple for the dispatch service to add to their menu of
services (allowing them to split revenue with the carrier). Alas,
cab service in Australia is it’s own little legal mafia and extremely
adverse to change. Indeed, after talking with cabbies, I learned
that all the new guys like the autodispatch service (it kept
expectations to a minimum and allowed them to be “lazy”); the old
cabbies were generally resentful and thought that the autodisptach
services limited their ability to use their “knowledge” to achieve
above average performance (the new guys referred to this a “cheating”
due to the fact that under voice disptach, older cabbies would
often lie about their location to pick up a fare before the new
guys even though the new guy was “closer” (by position, not by
time to find the fare)). A very few of the independent (owning
their own cabbie regos) had both voice and automated dispatch…
which brings up yet another facet of .au cab operations; most of
the cabs are owned by large conglomerates and the drivers are
merely keeping the front seat warm 24/7 (hence the need to keep
the cab fleets staffed with the low paid young and dumb recent
imports with few employment prospects).

…anyway, that’s probably more than you wanted to know.

I guess the point is that information services shouldn’t necessarily
try to change the way things are traditionally done (like haling a
cab, or even driving one for that matter)… and this is particularly
likely to be true with respect to how we manage our daily life in the
geographical confines of meat space.

BTW, I just saw an interesting BSTV piece on job location services
for freeters. All the services featured show the freeters hanging
out in dingy waiting rooms at 5:30am waiting for jobs and getting
their pay handed over in cash after inconning the paperwork. The
staff at the placement agency seemed to outnumber those getting
placed… odd that. Also detailed was the ability for the placement
agency to “grade up” (prefect for the video game generation now
just beginning to reach the age of employability) or exit the freeter
from their service in a seemingly graceful manner. Hey, maybe this
will provide JIT payroll *and* eliminate middle level management!
I particularly like the fact that the age of the “fitter” was about
the same as the “freeter” (that’s gota’ require some cultural

tod says:

Re: old news

The SF taxi market is so backwards that only there would this be news, Mike! In Chicago, we’ve had GPS-based dispatching since 1993, and as another poster pointed out, other cities have had same for years.

I would love to see a cabs-per-capita index of major US cities, just to see if any city could be worse than SF…


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