Some NYC Taxis to Get GPS-Based Fare Meters Under Pilot Program – eWeek

The GPS meters would make fares more accurate and streamline the path for new taxi apps and other future changes, says report.

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They used to say that New York cabbies were great listeners. If their masters used what their drivers heard about their service, to maintain their position in the industry, perhaps it would have been much harder for new technology based competitors to ‘poach’ their customers. Every industry needs to have open minded mystery shoppers and people who ask their customers how they engage and relate to their business. They then need to truly listen to that feedback. You don’t get loyalty simply by having a monopoly.

It seems like they are trying three things here.

1. Compete with the likes of Uber, Lyft and others. Good idea. It appears these startups (well Uber started in 2010 I think) have listened. It’s not too late to stay viable, but they need to truly listen to their customers and give them what they want, not what they want them to want.

2. Changing to GPS based metering is meaningless IMHO. It’s not  about the amount of technology in the vehicle, it’s about value for money and performance. If you’re talking about accuracy of technology, GPS cannot replace the odometer in places like Manhattan, although an assisted system could work.

Have you ever been in traffic where the car next to you is moving slightly and you think it’s you, so you push down  hard on the brakes and they’re still moving. That’s a similar experience to what you will have with GPS nav in Manhattan if it’s not connected to the car system in some way. The GPS signals bounce of the metal and glass of the high rise buildings and will make the cab think it’s moving. It seems like this argument is because Uber say they can charge less because they use cheaper technology, true to a point, but over the lifetime of the devices, it’s the total system, not the nuts and bolts in the cars.

3. Hailing a cab. This is where Uber really shines. I tried to walk from the Staten Island Ferry to the Sheraton on 7th and W 53rd on a hot summers day. By the time I had gone about 3 miles I was hot, dehydrated and there wasn’t a cab in sight to hail. When I did see one, it was occupied and none of them wanted to know me. It sounds a lot like the founders story of Uber. If Uber had been around at that time I would probably have been a convert for life.

That was 20 years ago and I didn’t have a cellphone. Uber wasn’t technically possible. Today all of us have a ubiquitous device and we want a trustworthy, reliable service that is fairly priced, safe, convenient and provided by someone who enjoys being your driver or guide.

The main features aren’t greater accuracy or cheaper technology in the car, it’s little things like being able to see where an available car is in relation to you, how long it will take to get to you, what the fare will cost and things like being able to rate the driver. Their marketing is also very cool. Gamification, crowd-sourced marketing and a people focus is something that is foreign to old school business. It shouldn’t be. That’s what the butcher was doing when he gave the kids a piece of sausage while mum was buying the meat 100 years ago. While he sliced the veal extra thin, the way she liked it, he would ask all about the family and know them all by name. He listened carefully because he knew she had a choice. He cared.

Every business in every industry needs to talk to it’s customers regularly, with an open mind and an open heart. That’s really hard to do, especially in the board room where there is frequent a mixture of arrogance, focus on today’s bottom line and an expectation that the business will grow by reducing cost and increasing profit consistently year after year, continuing to do what got them to where they are today.

Sorry folks, that’s not a sustainable model any more. Today the rate of change is rapid. Transparency is becoming the norm. If you don’t look after your customer like they are the most important people in your world, they will leave you. Someone else, perhaps a staff member who had ideas, but you were too smart to listen to them, or a customer, will say, “there must be a better way than this”, and all of a sudden you are subject matter for another case study, like Borders, where you can’t even got to buy the book, because they aren’t there any more.

See on Scoop.itLocation Is Everywhere

About Luigi Cappel

Writer for hire, marketing consultant specialising in Location Based Services. Futurist and Public Speaker Auckland, New Zealand
This entry was posted in GPS, New York, New York Taxi, uber and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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