View Full Version : Jobs allocated to cabs by computer

The Backward OX
11-27-2010, 06:22 PM
I’m seeking details for my WIP about how work is allocated to taxis by a computerised dispatch system. By ‘how’, I mean the process by which a car in a given area is able to pick up a job. How does the car’s location relate to the pick-up address? Does a moving car cause problems either of data transmission or with jobs being inappropriately allocated? I realise these are possibly high tech questions and that procedures may vary from one data system to another. FWIW, the country is Australia and the local system is MTD (their site is unhelpful). My isolation (two hours from nearest town with multiple taxis) makes it difficult to pose these questions to a cabbie.

Thank you

11-27-2010, 06:30 PM
A suggestion: Call a taxi company, tell them you're a writer and just looking for some basic details, and ask them the questions. Or chat up a taxi driver who is just sitting and waiting for a fare.

11-28-2010, 06:38 PM
It depends on the city. In New York, for example, there are two kinds of cars for hire - yellow taxis and "black cars."

A yellow taxi will drive around looking for fares. Based on the drivers' experience, they will be in areas where people need taxis - at hotel taxi stands before dinner and theater reservations, near Madison Square Garden after an event, driving up and down Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue during the Christmas shopping season. It is not possible to call someone and have them send a yellow taxi. They charge based on a meter - so much for a base fare, then an amount per mileage and surcharges for tolls.

A black car can only be called - you can't flag one down on the street. They charge by the hour, or a set price to go between town and the airport.

So in an enormous city famous for its cabs, there's not really any computerized dispatch. A school did a study on the best places to catch a cab at certain times of the day. They had to stand on busy corners and count the unoccupied cabs going by - if there were a computer system, the Taxi and Limousine Commision would have that information readily available.