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Thursday, 06 August 2015 17:10

Saratoga Taxi Goes Digital

By | Business

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Hailing a cab just became much easier in Saratoga Springs. Last week, Saratoga Taxi launched its services in the NexTaxi app, available on both iPhone and Android smartphones. 

“The whole thing is fantastic,” said Saratoga Taxi owner Larry Cooper. “The capabilities are unlimited. You can even book a trip now, tomorrow, next month or next year and never even talk to a dispatcher. Nobody else can do that.”

According to Gord Walsh of Future Quest Wireless Inc., marketers of the app, NexTaxi was one of the first passenger apps to launch in the market about five years ago. As one of the pioneers in the market, they were able to perfect the app in its early stages through fixing unexpected glitches and incorporating customer feedback to create this new version, which offers in-app payment, trip price estimation, the ability to choose the closest cab, the ability to watch the driver arrive in real time on a smartphone, and more. 

“The best part users will love,” said Walsh, “is you can book a future trip. So you can, for example, book a pickup to go to the airport next Tuesday morning. Upon opening the app, it is already showing you at your location, which is super simple, but you can also type an alternate location as the pickup. Perhaps you want to book a pickup for your daughter at school. So it can be used not just for you but your loved ones.”

Cooper said his drivers and dispatchers are acclimating to it well. “It makes the dispatcher a manager – kind of like an air traffic controller,” said Cooper. “Someone has to monitor the flow of calls, and it frees the dispatcher up from nitpicking duties and go forward and monitor the fleet, coordinate and supervise more than dispatch. You would never eliminate a dispatcher for something like this. You still need them to use their heads for something more than matching a person to a car. They get to look at the bigger picture, making them more valuable and they enjoy it more.”

Another useful feature is the app displays the closest cars to the pickup address, allowing customers to see the type of vehicle, the distance of each one, and even the driver.  Users can choose the closest car or let the system choose, or even pick a favorite driver, then watch the driver arrive in real time. This means no waiting in the heat or cold outside – passengers will know exactly when the driver is getting close. Previous pickup places are also saved for fast repeat bookings.

“I think this is a tremendous step for us and for Saratoga,” said Cooper. “It tacks on well to what we’ve been doing the last 36 years that I’ve owned Saratoga Taxi, and that’s great customer service. It’s a tremendous leap forward. Bottom line is the customer has to benefit, and this is so customer-friendly. No more phones ringing 10, 20 times before we can pick up during peak time. This app is lickety-split fast.”

Cooper added that this was the third system that his company had tried. “NexTaxi has the right formula,” he said. “The system would support a thousand cars, and our 19-car fleet is small for them, but they were the best company for us with a great program, offering a lot more capabilities than ever before. They are constantly listening to customer feedback and making upgrades based on the data. We’ve been eagerly looking for some sort of source for automatic dispatching, and this actually works. It’s like going from washing cars to launching a spaceship. Very exciting.”  

Saratoga TAXI is dispatched, maintained, and garaged in Saratoga Springs. It has been in business for more than 50 years, providing residents and visitors transportation locally and to Albany Airport as well as the Saratoga, Rensselaer, and Schenectady Amtrak® Stations. 

For more information about NexTaxi, visit futurequest.biz. For more information about Saratoga Taxi, call 518-584-2700 or visit saratoga-taxi.com.

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