Taxi app Hailo has teamed up with futurologists to give an insight into the future of cities as well as launching two new features.
There is certainly some merit to elements of this story and like many futurists (I haven’t heard of a futurologist before, but why not?) am an idealist. I watch models like Uber with interest and believe that the taxi industry needs to get smarter rather than do what so many other traditional models do on their way out, which is complain that it isn’t fare (pun intended).
One of the key Achilles heels for the taxi industry (especially in areas where they have deregulated) is in fact trust and that is one of the reasons why services such as Uber are able to get a foothold. Back in the day when taxi drivers had to know their way around, without car navigation, they were mostly reliable in getting you tp your destination by the quickest most economic route.
Today they have access to a mixture of both proprietary in-house systems as well as low cost but highly sophisticated car navigation systems which will take into consideration speed zones and real time traffic. Yet, despite using taxis 6-8 times a month, I rarely see a single one using real time traffic. They don’t really want to use it because it can reduce the value of their fare.
A system that can rate drivers on trustworthiness and providing good value for money, which is open and transparent would be a very smart way for the industry to win back the trust and credibility that has opened its industry up to competitors.
As to shared ownership of vehicles in the long term, I put that in the idealistic basket unless it is managed in the same way that shared ownership of yachts is modeled, where a broker takes responsibility for all maintenance, cleanliness etc of the vehicles. Of course this potentially adds to the cost of the no or shared ownership model, unless cars are purpose built, with cabins that are very easy to keep clean despite the efforts of some drivers to leave them in a mess. Of course the rating systems could also rate and reward or penalize drivers for the condition of a vehicle when the next person receives it.
Certainly a good thought provoking article.