A taxicab is a vehicle which is used for hire with a driver. It is commonly known as taxi or a cab. The word “taxi” was first originated in London in 1907. In early days it was known as “taximeter” i.e. automatic meter to record the distance and fare. “Taximeter” is an adaptation of the French word. Taxi is usually hired by a single passenger or a group of passengers. Passengers can travel to different locations by their choice in a taxi. A taxi driver’s shift may be very busy or slow, based on the area that the driver is working. How busy the shift is and how many fares the driver collects will determine the pay structure for each day. Taxi can be classified into different types such as
1. Hackney carriage which is compared to our regular taxi.
2. Minicabs (private hire vehicles) which are licensed for pre booking only.
3. Taxi-buses are operated on pre- set routes with multiple stops and passengers.
4. Limousines are specialized vehicles licensed for operation by pre-booking.
The regulations of taxi differ from one country to another. The common characteristics remain the same, the difference lies within dispatching and negotiation of payments.
In the modern days taxi cabs are of great use. They are serving as a luxury for the passengers and helping them reach their destination in due time. Different advancements have in made in the technological age for better use of cabs. Computer assisted auto dispatch system has enabled to serve customers and communicate efficiently if necessary. Hiring taxi cabs is far easier now. E-hailing process has helped the passengers hire the taxi by using mobile device. The headquarter certainly can monitor all its taxis by GPS tracking. It is used by GetTaxi, Easy Taxi, GrabTaxi, etc. Taxi Cabs are considered as an alternative to private car use. Most of the countries choose taxi as a means of communication for its effective use.
Recently companies have modified the taxi cab vehicles and made it capable for wheelchair using passengers. In this way it will be useful for transporting patients whenever necessary. Two side doors and a rear have been added for emergency exit of the sick passengers. These particular taxicabs have been specially named as “Maxicabs”. For environmental purposes solar power taxi cabs have been launched aiming a tour to different countries. It can reach at a speed of 90km/h with zero emission.
The dispatching system of taxi is quite attractive. Everything is controlled and monitored by a central office. There is a two way radio communication system. GPS coordinates has made it easier for destination purposes. CB radio frequencies help drivers of other taxi cabs call in help if necessary. Taxi cabs can easily be tracked if lost or stolen with the help of PDA s and advanced mobile phones. 8294 is considered as the vanity code for taxis. So whenever someone is in need of a taxi he/she can simply dial in this number and get his services. Taxi fares are generally set by the State or city departments. Passengers are charged by per mile rate in different regions of the country.
There is a contradiction about taxicabs for environmental pollution. Many people say its harmful and different others believe it to be the best alternative of using any private car. Although research says that people are exposed to pollution by the mode of transport they use. Walking and cycling is considered safe than taking private transport.
Taxis are run in different ways of alternative energy. LPG, natural gas, flexible-fuel, sugarcane ethanol is the basic and common forms which helps a taxi to run. Clean diesel and LPG are now mostly used and widely recognized.
Taxi cab driving has created alternative job opportunities too. Taxi driving helped immigrants and other poor minority to earn money and this work require relatively little education. So it’s the perfect means for them to earn a living. The Governments of different countries have given benefits for these people too. That’s now negotiations have been allowed by the taxi drivers with the
Passengers if they are willing to agree on the trip. Besides there is not a specific retirement for taxi drivers unless they are too old, so they can choose this employment for a long period. Taxi business can be considered as a profitable business sector. The customers or passengers will have to be characterized in groups and determined. The average cabs will be different than that of the special cabs used in distant travel or hospital and aero plane services. Modern equipment’s and better services will attract the customers in choosing the specific taxi services. As there is a lot of competitions the only possible way of survival would be is using right decisions and strategy. Analyzing the weakness in the recent years and overcoming them will be effective in different ways. Choosing effective experienced drivers is profitable for the business. Low price advertisements should be done for more profit. Time is always beneficial factor. After calling a taxi if it arrives in time then it will obviously attract travelers to choose the service provider. So it should be kept in mind. Some customers even though having own cars prefer using taxis. So the price has to be kept affordable as these customers are price sensitive. As for old people if there is minivan services and wheel chair taxis available in the area the business will certainly rise. Students are often valuable customers. If price can be made cheap for them and better services they would with no doubt choose this service. Special deals must be made with local bars, hotels in the area because a lot of people visit there every day and frequently require taxis. If these can be provided regularly it will be profitable for the company. 24/7 contract must be made with hospitals too.
Taxi cabs have lots of importance. Cabs are a great complement to transit. In the case of hurricane it is much needed redundancy. Since the transit system will be shut down, ferries will likely be too dangerous and walking will be insane, any activity that happens in the city this weekend will depend on taxis and liveries. So in case of any kinds of natural disaster taxicabs will be playing important roles.
However, recent consensus says that taxi deregulation has been less impressive. Possible reasons include overestimation of deregulation. On the other hand, deregulation claims that the taxi service level increases most in the poorest sections of the city. The effect is highest in peak hours and bad weather, when the demand is highest. Taxi deregulation proponents claims that immigrants and other poor minorities suffer most from taxi 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. In the taxi regulation report by U.S. FTC it was concluded that there are no grounds for limiting the number of taxi companies and cars. These limitations cause a disproportionate burden on low income people. It is better to increase the pay for unprofitable areas than to force the taxis to serve these areas. These specified rules have been a headache for a lot of people. According to the report, the experience on free entry and price competition are mainly positive. Prices have fallen, waiting times were shortened, the market shares of the biggest companies have fallen, and city councils have saved time from licensing and fare setting. Thus causing damage to the entire economical balance. There has been much opposition in this regard. Black market taxis often have problems with safety, poor customer service, and fares. This situation becomes worse because customers who patronize such taxis cannot complain to the police or media. Proponent of taxi deregulation argues that when these illegal taxis become legalized, their behavior will improve and complaints to officials about these formerly illegal taxis would be allowed. So this could be called as kind of relief. Taxi companies claim that deregulation may lead to an unstable taxi market. In most of the countries results of deregulation was drastic. It hampered work activities and damaged benefits. Productivity decreased by at least one-third in different cities for which sufficient data was obtainable, the researchers argued that decreases of this magnitude in productivity have serious economic consequences for taxi drivers, by shifting the industry from employee drivers to lease drivers and causing the average taxi driver to earn a lower income. Innovation in service did not occur in the deregulated cities because such innovations were doubled and in the end caused net decrease. A deregulated environment puts passengers in danger financially and physically, and leads to an unhealthy business environment preventing companies from providing top quality service. During the Great Depression, people jumped at the opportunity to drive unlicensed taxicabs at the absence of stable jobs. This caused an increase in accident rates, poor insurance coverage, and a painful level of road congestion. As a result, a lot of safety measures had to be taken which had cost time and money. For deregulation:
• Prices for taxi riders increased.
• Vehicle quality decreased.
• Average age of vehicles increased.
• Fares became confusing and unpredictable to passengers.
• Taxi riders in low-density areas were neglected and access to 24/7 transportation became difficult.
• Taxi riders became prone to price inflation and exploitation.
• Drivers struggled to make a living wage due to an increase of new drivers and an abundance of supply vs. rider demand.
• Driver quality decreased.
• Accidents increased due to an increase of inexperienced drivers on the road.
• Operators struggled to fund business operations and maintain top quality standards because of increased competition and decreased revenue.
• Traffic in high-density areas increased due to an influx of cars on the road and more “cruising” activity.
• Air quality decreased.
So in future these kinds of issues must be avoided. Necessary measures must be implemented to get rid of situations like these in the long run.
Taxicab travels has also some drawbacks. Recently various problems have arisen due to taxi related incidents. low customer satisfaction, sharp decline over the past six years safety and security for passengers and drivers has been an issue insufficient support for drivers, too many poorly skilled drivers with inadequate knowledge, a high turnover of drivers resulting in a shortage of experienced drivers, complex ownership and management structures, lack of competition etc. has brought about drastic changes. Besides Taxicab drivers are at risk for homicide at a far higher rate than the general working population in different foreign countries. In efforts to reduce homicides, bulletproof partitions were introduced in many taxicabs. Security cameras were added to many taxicabs. Security cameras used in taxicabs have been more effective in this regard for reducing damage.
Taxicabs can be said as the most effective means of communication although some drawbacks. Taxicab drivers have been playing an important role from a very long period. According to famous business tycoon W. Daniel Hill is “If transportation technology was moving along as fast as microprocessor technology, then the day after tomorrow I would be able to get in a taxi cab and be in Tokyo in 30 seconds.” According to John O’Keefe “Some of the best navigators in the world are London taxi cab drivers. They have to learn 25,000 streets and how to get from one to the other.”