This is an article originally published in the April 2013 volume of Taxi News by Mike Beggs. The original version is available in pdf. format here, but since it’s not available in a searchable text format online, I’m reposting here.
Diamond launches taxi app with GPS vehicle tracking
By Mike Beggs
Diamond Taxi has become the second major brokerage to step into the emerging Toronto taxi app market – but the first to integrate its’ app with GPS vehicle tracking technology!
On March 1, the Black-and-Orange launched this free app (developed by the Toronto-based Fleetbit tech company), which enables passengers to book, track in real time, and rate rides from its’ fleet of more than 650 licensed drivers. This comes on the heels of the Beck Taxi brokerage app, and the arrival of such deep-pocketed virtual brokerages as Hailo, over the past year.
Yesterday, popular tech blog TechCrunch covered Hailo’s plans to launch in San Francisco. Hailo’s job board also shows a new position for a City General Manager in Montreal.
The Hailo app is already available in London, Dublin, Toronto, Boston, and Chicago, and the new job postings follow its recent raise of 30M in new funding.
Hailo won’t be the first taxi app in Montreal; Tag Taxi and Taxi Diamond both launched e-hailing apps there last year. But Hailo will be the first app company to compete directly with Montreal taxi companies by targeting individual drivers. Hailo sends rides directly to drivers’ smartphones, charging them 10% – 20% of every fare. Continue reading →
TORONTO, ONTARIO — Today Fleetbit, a division of Winston Inc, launched the taxi booking smartphone app for Diamond Taxicab. The app is the first of twelve apps Fleetbit is building for taxi companies in eleven North American cities. The free app lets passengers book, track in realtime, and rate rides from Diamond Taxicab’s fleet of over 650 drivers.
The launch marks a significant strategy change for Fleetbit. In October 2011, it launched HireWinston, the first car service app in Canada that connected passengers to individual drivers through iPhones mounted in drivers’ cars.
Because the direct-to-driver model led to a shortage of drivers during peak periods, the company’s founders partnered with Toronto’s Diamond Taxicab to launch an app with twenty times the number of drivers.
CEO Aidan Nulman explains, “it didn’t take us long to realize we could deliver much better service by partnering with established taxi companies; the Diamond app has hundreds more cars and is supplemented with the quality control, training, 24/7 support, and dispatch infrastructure that customers and corporate accounts need”. Continue reading →
Since up to 50% of people are visiting taxi sites from their cell phones, it’s helpful to know what your site looks like from a cell phone. I’ve written about mobile optimization before, so I won’t spend too much time on it, but basically some sites look great from mobile phones and others are very difficult to use.
Our front end developer Matt just showed me a web app that displays how any website looks on various mobile web browsers. I think the tool is pretty handy.
Our advice is to be as specific and succinct as possible: say something about your taxi company that your competitors can’t and won’t say.
A great example:
Yellow Cab has the most organized and reliable lost and found in the region. Since we recognize and reward drivers for bringing in your lost items, we receive more than 20 items every day, and return over 80% to their owners.
Our front-end developer Matt just came across this great example of how not to describe your company on designjargonbullshit.com
Last month we launched the website for Diamond Taxi. Diamond’s president, Jim Bell, is chair of the TLPA apps committee and was one of the first fleet operators to decide his company would launch its own app and accompanying mobile-friendly site. We’ve been working closely with Diamond since the summer and Jim’s experience has guided a lot of our development, so the launch was especially exciting for everyone.
The website’s online booking is integrated with Diamond’s Mobile Knowledge GPS dispatch system.
Since so many taxi fleets are either planning or implementing their own online booking websites, we’re sharing some of our thinking here.
Uber’s arrogant approach to changing the taxi industry is uncollaborative and ignores industry dynamics and regulations. But it’s not representative of the whole software industry and isn’t a great roadmap for other tech companies.
Before the holidays I sat down with Jim Bell, Chair of the TLPA (Taxi Limo Paratransit Association) Apps Committee. The committee met in Phoenix last month and Jim updated me on its current initiatives. Continue reading →