Company: Flywheel Software
By Steve Humphreys, CEO of Flywheel
By now, we’ve all heard the familiar refrain that taxis are being left behind by Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and other transportation apps, simply because the taxi industry failed to embrace technology. It’s just not true. The taxi industry has a long history of adopting technology in ways that benefit riders, drivers and the companies responsible for putting them together. Just a few examples of where technology and taxis have successfully intersected include the taximeter in the 1890s, radio dispatch in the 1940s, and the computer dispatch system, launched in the 1980s. While it may seem that taxis are late to the game with mobile apps, it’s easy to forget that Uber started only a few years ago, and Lyft even more recently.
Taxis are an indispensable part of almost every city’s transportation system, and as such, need to ensure they leverage the most effective or established technologies to enhance their businesses. To that end, in New York City alone, 236 million passengers ride taxis on an annual basis, according to the 2014 Taxicab Fact Book. In Seattle, where the taxi industry, alternative transportation options, public officials and citizens are actively discussing how companies like UberX might be regulated for safety and fairness, taxis are responsible for some 6.6 million trips throughout the year, according to the City of Seattle’s most recent report from 2013.