Monday, January 23, 2017

The Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA) prove the future is happening now! ...by Sean Paul Day.


I hope you have all recovered from an unprecedented week long protest.  I will expand on the merits of the ITA demo and its significance in next weeks post but the one thing that struck me was, how well connected we have become.  

How empowering did it make us feel?  And significantly, how much stronger does connectivity and subsequent synchronicity make us? I would say, immeasurably.  I had imagined a time when infrastructure, our workspace, our office, was increasingly withdrawn from use.  So much so, it would feel like we were part of a monopoly board game, tripping around, invariably landing on every square that has someone else's stock. Not any more, and used wisely, can benefit the whole trade.  Any decision that impedes the service that we offer is injurious and should be firmly contested every time. 

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With that in mind, every so often, TAXIAPP will endeavour to inform the cab trade about what is happening in the world of ‘tech”.  Now, with lthat comes a disclaimer, I am not an authority on tech, in fact, even techies have a problem predicting where tech is heading, so don't hold it against me, and if you happen to fall across any relevant info feel free to share it with us, and/or pen an article yourself.

That being said, and this is important, I don't believe we are being fully informed by TFL about that which they do, or should, know about.  At a time when the surface transport director has been circling around bus franchises giving talks and sharing information regarding the potential disruption to their industry, and what to do about it, he has never once attempted to address the cab trade, or offer a perspective, a plan or any information of any kind.  It is therefore up to us to inform and empower ourselves. 

Here goes, you may have read reports recently that TFL are expanding their operational ‘responsibilities’ beyond the Met District and surrounding counties, and wondered what that is about?  Not unlike some states in the USA, TFL are looking to change transportation mobility (and safety) by integrating advanced, wireless communication technologies into both the transportation infrastructure and vehicles. The purpose of this is to process and share data that can prevent vehicle collisions, keep traffic moving and reduce environmental impacts. 

But for us there is a greater concern and it is one we need to think about very seriously.  Coordinating traffic signals, giving signal priority to certain lanes, electronic information signs and variable speed limit signs are all part of the burgeoning ‘eco’ transport industry.  Also significant is the ability to automatically distribute real-time congestion data to control centres.  It is understood that traffic will enable mobility through “packed to capacity’  infrastructure (offers a possible explanation for inactivity re: congestion) 

Instead of a bunch of independent systems on the local, national or even global level, they are looking to further develop a transportation network that works like the internet, where everything is connected, but also open for standards based communication, which reduces costs massively and creates value for everyone involved in managing traffic.  It is vital that we are included within this new ‘eco-transport system.  This isn't something that's specific to the taxi trade, but something that everyone will have to be a part of.

Until now, the Corporate ride-share apps, including the established taxi apps, have enjoyed a distinct advantage over the taxi trade as far as being technologically linked goes.  The  ultra viral use of prevailing technology has enabled them to almost take ownership of our work.  That advantage however, as the ITA proved this week, could be very short lived.  Not only are we getting organised, but we even have the potential to beat the tech ‘wizards’ at their own game.  Now wouldn't that be truly something!

Once again, thank you all for your continued support during this bleak time of year. 

I'll see you out there on the mean streets or at the next demo.  TAXIAPP UK