Free State Project Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Taxi Dispatching Company - Cheaper, Safer, and More Pleasant Cab Rides  (Read 3449 times)

alecmuller

  • FSP Participant
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 103

The basic idea is to operate a telephone auction-based taxi dispatching company.

Riders will use their cell phones to call up and specify their location, destination and offered rate.  They'll also be able to make vehicle specifications (large or small car, motorcycle, mini-van, etc.) and driver specifications (safety, communication, courtesy, timeliness, professonal driver or ride-sharer, etc).  If they want, they can even identify themselves with a handle (think eBay feedback) to build a reputation as a friendly customer.  They'll also be able to specify whether their offer is instant (the first driver to accept it wins at the stated rate) or if it gets auctioned off southern style to the lowest bidder within a specified time period (the lowest bidder wins and gets the second lowest bid price).

Drivers will call up the dispatcher in search of offers.  They can accept offers, make counteroffers (if they think the rider's offer is too low) or bid on auctioned offers.  The dispatcher's caller ID will be used to verify that the driver meets the rider's specifications (ex, good driving record and has access to a full-sized sedan).

After the lowest bidder wins the auction, the trip takes place, and both the rider and the driver have the chance to call the dispatcher to leave feedback in exchange for discounts on future calls.  The dispatching company makes money by charging a flat fee to the driver for each transaction.  To use the dispatcher all a driver needs to do is have a cell phone and make a credit card or cash deposit that will cover the transaction fees.  Ride-sharers would be welcome in addition to professional drivers.

The fees cover the cost of the auction system, feedback discounts, and advertising.  Several different dispatchers can operate in the same geographic area if they want to (with 800 numbers they'll have incredible range if they choose to use it), and can compete on price and quality.  The same company might have different phone numbers for different service levels (for instance, talking to a real person instead of just a machine).  Overloaded dispatchers may even forward their calls to their competitors for a fee in cases where they think it's better than ticking off a customer with a long wait.

The advantage of this system is that it makes the market more transparent.  In an age where information transfer is incredibly cheap, it shouldn’t be that hard to get the cheapest possible rate on a taxi cab.  It also avoids unnecessary barriers to entry – ride sharing is about the cheapest possible way to get from point A to point B because the marginal cost is so low.  Finally, the feedback mechanisms make it easier for both riders and drivers to get what they're looking for.

There is also no reason why this system can’t be used for aircraft as well as ground vehicles.  Instead of specifying a mid-sized sedan for the vehicle and getting directed to cars, a customer could specify a 120+ mph 4-place aircraft and be directed to charter companies and Flight Base Operators.  Chartered flights will still need pilots that have commercial licenses, but ride-sharing for non-commercial pilots is perfectly legal under FAA regulations.  The pilots still need to pay part of the cost so they can't make money off it, but carrying passengers cuts the cost of flying in half and lets pilots spend more hours doing something they love anyway.
Logged

rodschmidt

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 362
Re:Taxi Dispatching Company - Cheaper, Safer, and More Pleasant Cab Rides
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2003, 02:55:19 am »

I've seen a report on how taxicab economics in Portland could be improved.

The report said there should be property rights in curb space, and a consequent market.

Logged

rodschmidt

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 362
Re:Taxi Dispatching Company - Cheaper, Safer, and More Pleasant Cab Rides
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2003, 02:59:22 am »

Instead of telephone-based, make it Internet-based.

Instead of just transporting passengers, transport things as well.  Sometimes you don't want to go across town, you just want to send a thing across town.  

Sometimes you want an errand achieved that doesn't require your actual specific blob of protoplasm to be there.

So instead of just ride-sharing:  errand-sharing.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up