The Past We Lived Through
The taxi industry has been a part of city and community landscapes since the "modern" taxicab first appeared on the streets of London in the late 1800's.
Since then, taxis have grown into a massive worldwide industry with strong regulation and protection in most jurisdictions. Such "rules" have limited competition while also minimizing any need to evolve, improve and innovate. Then along came something called Uber bringing with it an entirely new industry called "ride-sharing" and the taxi industry suddenly saw it's protective glass house shattered to pieces overnight.
Shielded from competition with regulations limiting the number of cabs on the street while dictating fee structures, taxi company owners concentrated on revenue. This took its toll on service and fleet quality. Outside of hailing a taxi on the street, cab response times were unpredictable with long customer wait times being the norm. And often the cab itself was a poorly maintained vehicle with torn and dirty seats, squeaky breaks and a driver with no cab side manner.
The Present We’re Living With
Uber shows up with a simple app where customers are picked up in minutes by a clean, recent model and well-maintained car. Service is the focus, with well-dressed, polite drivers who gladly help with bags. Some even provide water, candy, and other extras to make the ride more pleasurable.
Wake up horn for the taxi industry!
They say disruption is often the most effective catalyst to force positive change, especially in an old, entrenched industry. You could say Uber drove in and massively disrupted the taxi business!
The Future As It Can Be
Yes, taxis still have a LARGE and powerful presence.
The taxi industry IS NOT rolling over and falling into the scrap yard. We’re talking about an immense global business estimated to generate over $ 100 billion/year in revenue. Just in the United States, taxi industry numbers are staggering:
· Annual revenue in excess of $ 20 billion
· Over 230,000 taxi drivers
· Over 413,000 employees
· Over 338,000 businesses
In my market alone, the Las Vegas taxi industry generated over $ 425 million in revenue in 2015 representing almost 28 million trips! Taxis are definitely sticking around!
Yes, it's been hurt by ride-sharing. In some markets, ridership and driver income are down by up to 50% over the prior year. But fleet owners are wide awake, recognizing mistakes made, opportunities overlooked and are exploring ways to not only level the playing field with the ride-sharing companies, but drive technologies that will help them gain the lead.
As Senior Vice President for IoE Connectivity at beamSmart, I have been working closely with taxi companies and regulatory bodies around the country. I can tell you this industry IS focused on bringing true technology into their members. While much of the buzz in this area has been around basic apps that look to deliver Uber-like functionality, the real solution for the taxi industry is a total end-to-end system that integrates dispatching, response, communication and safety into one platform. A product that beamSmart has already perfected.
beamAtaxi, the “Uber” of Licensed Taxis
beamSmart (www.beamsmart.com) has developed the industries only true unified mobile taxi system that meets the needs of passengers, drivers, administration, dispatching, fleet maintenance and ownership alike. It’s called beamAtaxi. It surpasses Uber in many ways:
Safety and Security are Job # 1
Taxi driving is considered one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs.
beamSmart recognized this fact and built beamAtaxi on a platform based on safety and security for both the driver and passenger. In fact, beamSmart started out in the Public Safety/911 industry, developing that industries first complete citizen/public 911 platform that saves lives. This solution, called beam911, forms the framework for the extensive safety features in beamAtaxi. For us it’s safety first. Safety/security features include:
· 3 button app that includes an emergency “See Something, Beam Something” button for passenger and driver. An instant alert for any Emergency Situation, Roadside Assistance, Concierge Services
· Sharing of live location, video and text with the dispatcher
· Calls automatically routed to regional emergency services
· All video and location information recorded to the cloud instantly
· GPS location delivered with near zero latency so location is always accurate
With our special attention to driver and passenger safety, beamAtaxi’s features include:
· A camera in each car that records and can broadcast live video to the base or police
· App with Emergency Alert Button for Driver and Passenger
· "Trip" requests via mobile app, voice or text
· Communication via video and GPS
· Content, record and customer management
· Detailed Report and Analytics
· Connected car with full fleet management, diagnostics and assistance
· CUSTOMIZABLE OPEN ARCHITECTURE TO ADDRESS SPECIFIC COMPANY, MARKET AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS
That last bullet is important: beamSmart's solution, called beamAtaxi, is not a "solution in a box"! It is fully configurable to address the specific interests, needs and regulations as set forth by each taxi company and the cities/jurisdictions in which they operate.
From a passenger standpoint, beamAtaxi delivers:
· Security features for personal safety
· Trip request by app, phone and SMS
· Support for iOS and Android
· Providing 2 minute ETA with live GPS
· Free WiFi and personal content when inside each cab
· Special needs requests
· No surge pricing!
For drivers, beamAtaxi delivers:
· Emergency and security features for their and their passengers safety
· Front and rear tablet
· Support for multiple driver per taxi
· Soft, OBD-enabled or custom metering
· Simple driver experience: Accept - Start Metering - End Metering
· Optimized route and trip management
· Meter activities registered on one page
· Voice guided navigation
· Live video streaming and recording
· Ability to be hailed, instantly “Beamed” via mobile phone, or reserved
· Fee collection via credit card, online payment and cash
For administration and dispatching, beamAtaxi delivers:
· CAD tool on one screen
· Dispatching based on closest and available driver
· Live monitoring of all actions
· Trip requests matched to special needs
· Full Geofencing to meet regulation and company guidelines
· End-to-end trip history recording by breadcrumb, video, text, meter and fare data, driver and passenger profile
For ownership and administration, beamAtaxi delivers:
· Live monitoring and communications using video and GPS
· Smart safety and trip alerts
· Comprehensive fleet management
· Diagnostics and analytics for vehicle performance
· Trip record management
· Passenger analytics and customer satisfaction
· CRM and other resource management tools
· Full analytics - distributed and historical reporting
· Dramatic reduction in operating costs
· New sources of revenue
· Reinvention that helps you make more money
Tomorrow is Available Today
The taxi industry has started to re-invent itself and technology is playing a major role in that effort.
Simply implementing app-based dispatch WILL NOT solve the industries problems. Uber and Lyft do app-based dispatch very, very well. Leapfrogging them will not occur by copying them!
beamSmart is the only total unified platform that is the complete technological solution for this re-invention. beamAtaxi, when coupled with internal upgrades to cars and service is how the taxi industry will compete and win against their ride-sharing competition.
With the help of beamAtaxi, the taxi industry will speed past ride-sharing to regain the position as “the preferred means of personal transportation.” That is where we’re heading.
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