Union Taxi Co-Operative
Technology Solution Recoups Competitive Advantage and Sees Ridership Skyrocket
Union Taxi Co-Operative is a relative newcomer to the taxi scene in Denver, Colorado, but with Mentor’s technology installed in their 265-vehicle fleet, they have become one of the most competitive taxi cab companies in the state. With ridership numbers skyrocketing, Union Taxi attributes this success to the combination of automated dispatch software and in-vehicle computing. This technology solution allows Union Taxi to offer an unprecedented level of service to the Denver Metropolitan Area.
Initially, Union Taxi relied on a voice/radio dispatching system to run their taxi cab operation. With this method, their dispatch process was inefficient and business wasn’t growing. Ismaeel Chartier explains why investing in a technology solution was necessary: "We saw that there was a need to move to new technologies in order to provide better service to our customers and increase ridership. To increase our business, we needed to move forward with this solution."
Union Taxi chose to implement Mentor IntelliFleet®, an electronic dispatch and automated call-taking system built specifically for the taxi industry. The IntelliReports module of IntelliFleet allows Union Taxi to run reports to get a clear picture of driver activity, schedules, and billing for the day, week, month and year.
IntelliFleet was paired with Mentor Ranger® in the vehicles. Ranger is a rugged, mobile computer that features touch screen technology to provide drivers with customer pickup and destination information, turn-by-turn GPS navigation, an internal taxi meter, full emergency capability for driver safety and in-vehicle payment processing. Ranger connects to Union Taxi via Cellular Public Network to allow unlimited data coverage without the restrictions of traditional radio systems.
For Union Taxi, the biggest benefit of adding technology has been, unquestionably, their increase in ridership. As Ismaeel explains: "The greatest benefit is that we have been able to increase our ridership. As a cab company, that’s how you make your money. Now, we can compete with the bigger, more established taxi companies in Denver. We can compete for good drivers, we can compete for contracts and for voucher systems; all of these things we were unable to do before because we couldn’t prove our ridership. Now we can show that every month there are over 400,000 people in our taxis, and as a result, it has increased everything for us. Increasing our ridership has meant that our overall business and business prospects have improved as well."
Although in business for only two years, Union Taxi Co-Operative is seeing results that far surpass their long-established competitors, and adding Mentor's solution has been a driving force for the taxi cab company.
As Ismaeel Chartier, General Manager at Union Taxi Co-Operative explains: "We've been able to do 13,000 trips per month without needing to hire additional staff and without any problems. Much of this is because of Mentor's IntelliFleet system. It allows us to have the freedom to expand our business very rapidly. If we were still on a radio dispatch system, we would have to hire additional dispatchers and additional call-takers."
Mentor IntelliFleet facilitates accurate zone dispatching and GPS/Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) matches passengers with the closest available vehicle. Mentor Ranger® in-vehicle computers work with IntelliFleet to enable real-time messaging between drivers and dispatchers as well as automate data collection.
Using this combined technology solution means that Union Taxi can perform 12,000 more trips per month, something otherwise unattainable with their old system. "We went from taking between five to eighty calls a day to averaging over 300 calls per day now. The amount of calls that we have been able to handle would not have been possible with a radio dispatch system," says Ismaeel.
Also contributing to Union Taxi's increase in ridership is streamlined communication between dispatchers and drivers of their 265-vehicle fleet. "The system has cut down on communication, but that's a good thing. Before we had IntelliFleet, everything took place over the radio, so the more talking that was done on the radio meant fewer trips that could be taking place. Basically, IntelliFleet has improved our communication by limiting it, so that the main focus of our dispatchers and drivers is on better serving the customer," explains Ismaeel.
Ismaeel has seen great improvements in Union Taxi's reporting processes and data accuracy as well. "IntelliFleet has really made our company operate much better. I couldn't imagine going back to using a radio dispatch system and having to rely on those numbers to be accurate. With IntelliFleet, the data is always on the server. It's easy to pull up numbers and know that they aren't inflated or deflated, just accurate."
In terms of reporting, Ismaeel relies on Mentor's solution to gain a transparent view of Union Taxi's operations. "Using IntelliFleet and IntelliReports we can see what areas we need to concentrate more on. As the general manager, I love the reporting capabilities of IntelliReports and how it simplifies everything for me. I can see how many calls come in, I can see who is dispatching, who is canceling calls and who is making changes in the system. I don't think that money can buy a better system."
At this stage of Union Taxi's growth, the impact of not equipping their company with Mentor's IntelliFleet solution would be significant. "I don't think we would have grown at all if we didn't install IntelliFleet. We would still just be relying on being at the airport and sitting in front of hotels for trips. I doubt that we would have seen any increase in our business at all," says Ismaeel.
As for the future of Union Taxi Co-Operative, Ismaeel believes it to be promising. "We are going to be number one in the Denver taxi market, and Mentor's technology is going to allow us to get there. It is really the ground forces in our battle assault to take Denver. Without IntelliFleet we wouldn't have any chance of becoming the best taxi company in Colorado."