Maybe you used Carrie Bradshaw’s taxi method earlier: hectic after one
Carpool while you tiptoe through the traffic.
Of course, all that has changed drastically over the last decade. The digital revolution
has blown up the taxi industry as fast as any other.
Customers are more comfortable than ever getting a ride. For
However, traditional taxi companies, lawmakers and governments have changed with it
every step created challenges.
Although the word taxi is only about a century old, the first one can be
rentable rides back to the early 17th century. Innkeepers in
London and Paris provided their horse-drawn carriages to dealers and visitors – one
Practice that had spread throughout Europe until the mid-1850s.
Modernization began in the early 19th century, as fleets of electrically powered
Taxis became the usual sight in urban areas. Three German inventors have
then in 1891 introduced the modern taximeter, the standard in Paris, London and New
The 20th century
From Rio to Cairo, taxis became commonplace. As the fleets grew,
It was also their shapes, functions and equipment. The global taxi market was
A $ 50 to $ 100 billion industry, complete with
Maxicabs (wheelchair accessible), limousines, tricycles, taxi ranks, distribution center,
Unions, monopolies and the introduction of greener vehicle technology.
A trip to New York would not be complete without a photo of
the iconic yellow taxis. It’s the same with London’s Hackney taxis.
For many people in the world, a life without taxis was unimaginable.
Then came Uber. Founded in 2009, the direct driving service undermined the
Taxi industry with a business model that was tailored to the Share Economy –
one that sometimes bypasses the rules to offer the customer what it is for him
With Uber users could call a taxi from their smartphone, the
calculate estimated fare for their routes and automatically coupled with one
Pay by credit card or account. Most importantly, the prices were usually
cheaper than those required by traditional taxi companies.
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It was fantastic for everyone on the road, but Uber is on a fine line
changed. With the introduction of UberX, virtually anyone could use a smartphone
to be an independent taxi driver. That is an important distinction, since the
Classification of drivers as independent entrepreneurs rather than employees
Headaches aroused among governments trying to disrupt Uber’s fluid business
Taxi unions had meanwhile high profile
Protests are staged – most notably in Paris in 2016 – in response to Ubers
aggressive and legally dubious foray into their territory. The company was
bans, fines and massive lawsuits, but one thing was clear: the
Taxi industry either had to adapt or die.
Traditional taxi companies searched and found
Ways to stay competitive. The app MyTaxi merges, for example, the
Taxi infrastructure that exists in a city, with most of the features that made Uber popular: an easy-to-use app, a digital roadmap, cashless payment, driver evaluation and electronic billing. MyTaxi
has 70 million passengers and 108,000 registered taxi drivers in more than 50 cities in
ten European countries – all in a legal framework.
And that’s far from the only example: Easy Taxi has over 17 million passengers
worldwide, Didi Dache is present in more than 300 cities in China (a country where
mobile payment has become a standard in taxis), and in France where Uber
is partially prohibited, LeCab is in the fast lane. Employing these platforms,
license and check drivers with the same rules as traditional taxi drivers
Companies have to comply.
Technology bypasses many of the things we used to associate with taxis as children:
Telephone numbers, road maps, cash, interaction with the driver. Soon, too, will probably
the driver himself may be obsolete. Thanks to the advances in the programming of
autonomous vehicles, it is not very far-fetched to suspect us in the near
Future robots will be driving around the area.
Many experts say the first
useless driverless taxis on the road ahead for 2020, with one company already
In 2016, a robotic taxi in Singapore has sent on a pilot mission. All big names –
Google, Uber, General Motors – are tuned too, so it’s only a matter of time.
And that closes the circle: from horse-drawn carriages to robot cars.
Not? Maybe teleportation is the ultimate goal.
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This article appeared first in #sisterMAG N ° 34.
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