Friday, November 29, 2013

The Evolution of Taxi Meters and Taxi Cab Apps

According to Travis Kalanick, traditional taxi companies are a dying breed that needs to be put out of business. Certainty, every industry has its share of problems; I say that the taxi business is strong. According to a report published by the bureau of labor statistics, 239,000 men and women are taxi drivers. Projected growth for the industry is 20% per year.(1).

Naysayers like Mr. Kalnick seem to have no understanding for the true problems of the industry which are the working conditions and treatment of drivers. Often called the most dangerous job in America, the average taxi driver earns a paltry sum of $22,440 per year.
The issues of service related problems will continue to plague the taxi industry until the working conditions and rates of pay for drivers are adjusted to a standard that is fair to all. Exploitation of drivers by companies they  work for continues to undermine the morale of the average taxi driver. In this environment, service complaints will continue to be the Achilles' heel of the industry.
Nevertheless, service issues still plague the industry. Leave it to good old capitalism to find a solution to the problem. Uber and other companies have jumped into the taxi app business seeking to exploit customer dissatisfaction with the industries current business model.

Flat rate charges seek to undermine the concept of a metered taxi fare. In fact, the idea of car with no taxi meters and taxi apps have put some unanswered questions in the minds of drivers and fleet owners. So where is the taxi industry going? Are metered fares a thing of the past?  Is the taxi meter a relic of the past destine to die from improvements in technology? Is the taxi industry dying a slow death?

There are literally thousands of companies that would suffer irreparable harm if Kalnick's vision became a reality.

This is the inventor of the taxi meter. check out for more info.
Wilhelm Bruhn' Taxi Meter Inventor
Wilhelm Bruhn's taxi meter invention gave birth to the industry. Centrodyne is the largest taxi meter manufacturer in the US and Canada. Their very first electronic taxi meter the Silent 500 series revolutionized meter manufacturing, setting the standard of quality for the industry.

I had the opportunity to put forth these questions to Byron Corcoran
the General Manager of Centrodyne Inc.

 Good day to you Byron

You've have had a great career with Centrodyne corporation. What do you think has made Centrodyne an industry leader in the taxi meter manufacturing industry?
I believe it comes down to the quality of our product and the the technological advancements they offer to our customers.

According to Travis Kalanick the CEO of Uber, the taxi industry is a broken wheel that needs to replaced with something better. He wants to put the taxi companies out of business. What is your response to this since if he had his way, this would directly affect your companies business model.
I would say like in most industries there is room for improvement but the taxi industry is not broken. His statement seems to be a little self serving in trying to launch their service. Naturally, if our clients business contracts, we would also loose market share. Our industry is regulated and the industry players follow those regulations. The reason for these regulations are for the consumer's safety, privacy, and accountability to each customers, Our industry, is required to serve 100% of the riding public. That is not what these "rogue apps" are doing. They only serve a small market segment that targets the quick make a buck mentality and they don't follow the rules when they do.
There have been some fundamental changes within the industry brought about by the development of taxi cab apps and the entrance of Uber and Hallo into the transportation market. Will people still want to ride in a vehicle without a meter to document their fare?
I'm obviously biased but yes I believe people will want a taximeter. One of the reasons there are taximeters today is so that the riding public can have confidence that the amount they are being charged is accurate and fare. There are federal weights and measures specifications and tolerance requirements for charging the public whether it be with fuel pumps, scales, taximeters, etc. Devices such as the taximeter ensure an accurate calculation of the amount charged. Apps used on smart phones, tablets, etc. do calculate the fares but do not meet the federally mandated specifications and tolerances for weights and measures. These devices when used on a android phone or Apple i Pad have no provision for fare calculation when the GPS signal it's using is lost or not available.

Will there be a taxi cab industry in the next 10 years?
Yes.There will be changes made to the industry and perhaps to taximeters but I believe the core industry will still be there.
What is the most significant issue facing the taxi industry ?
he most significant issue facing the taxi industry are "rogue taxi apps". How our industry, regulators and politicians react and adapt to these apps will prove crucial. It may mean the taxi industry will need to be allowed more flexibility and, some of that flexibility may be in the taximeter.
The first Taxi meter made by Centrodyne was the 500 series. Then when the 600 series came out it was a huge success . I understand that there were 93,000 produced. Why did the company make the decision to stop manufacturing the 600 series meter?
Our first taximeter was the Silent 500, followed by the Silent 550, Silent 610, Silent 620 and now the S700 taximeter. The S600 series was first introduced in 1993, we continue to manufacture it today, and will for a few more years. The two most significant reasons for moving to a new meter are changes in technology and changes in the taximeter features.
Buy you new S700 Taxi Meter at
Centrodyne S700 Taximeter

The 700 series replaced the 610. What makes it a better meter?
The new design of the S700  taxi meter  is better situated for changing requirements to taximeters. A few examples are smaller size, lightweight, standard SMART communications, printer ready, 16 rates standard, Flat Rates, Touring Rates, Negotiated Rates, stores last 250+ trips, APP for downloading meter data, website for programming and firmware updates, and more.

         Does Centrodyne have any new taxi meters in development that you can share
         with our readers?
A printer specifically designed for the Centrodyne S700 will be available next year and the design concept for the next new generation taximeter has already begun..
           Byron, I want to thank you today for sharing your insights into the taxi industry.                  

         Your welcome Atlanta Airport Guy
Technological innovation of smart phones and the use of taxi apps by “rogue outfits" will continue to divide the industry unless the industry itself embraces and accepts change. Relying on politicians to consider the legal questions of what's good for American business is a misnomer of the function of government. Taxi companies need to fight back against the naysayers and incorporate the very technology that  their adversaries  are trying to use  to destroy their everyday business operations.       
(1) accessed 11/27/`13