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Taxi Times International - January 2015 - English

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NEWS GUEST-COMMENTARY A

NEWS GUEST-COMMENTARY A new green initiative: taxis4smartcities.org PAUL GERLACH PR expert Paul Gerlach advises several companies. He conducts his business through “inOrange communication”, a small agency in the Rhine/Main region. He previously worked as a press spokesman providing support for national and international companies, most recently Vodafone, on the rise of the Internet and the wide-ranging services within the new IT landscape. PARIS: TAXIS LAUNCH GREEN INITIATIVE Taxis4smartcities.org is a fresh international environmental initiative launched recently by a large number of major European radio circuits to coincide with the Paris climate conference COP21. As successful cities depend on efficient public transport and other sustainable mass travel options, taxis are providing an individual door-to-door service”, the promoters, Groupe G7 in Paris, claim. “By the nature of their services, taxis are an integral part of the multi-modal mobility chain. In an effort to making cities move to cleaner and more sustainable types of transport, taxi companies can make an important contribution to this energy transition.” That is why main European radio circuits like Les Taxis Bleus, Alpha Taxis and Taxis G7 in Paris, TCA in Amsterdam, Taxiphone in Geneva, Taxi Kurir, Topcab and Taxi 020 in Stockholm, Taxi Skåne, GERMAN ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR FASTER INTEGRATION OF REFUGEES At the meeting last autumn of the German Taxi and For Hire Vehicle Association (BZP) in Chemnitz, President Müller called for support from politicians for the fast integration of refugees into the employment market. Müller said that the key measure would be to implement fast support programmes in which operational training would be combined with language courses. Much progress has been made within the BZP on such a concept, which needs to be initiated by the respective local employment agencies with as little paperwork as possible. “In the taxi and for hire vehicle industry, we spend a lot of time together on a daily basis with people who come from totally different cultural backgrounds and take jobs in the local transport market as a driver or an operator”, said Müller. Taxi Jönköping, Central Taxis in Glasgow, 3570 in Rome, Taxi Services in Lausanne, Taxi 31300 in Vienna, Taxi Berlin, Taxi Téo in Montreal, Taxis Bleus in Brussels and the London Taxi Company have joined together to form taxis4smartcities.org – a worldwide green taxi initiative. This way taxis can play their role in creating smarter cities and cleaning up the vehicle fleets in city centres. It is also the group’s intention to educate operators and drivers about energy transition and environmental awareness. ‘Responsible’ taxi company are encouraged to purchase low-emission vehicles in partnership with environmentally conscious automakers and with the support of the local licensing authorities. Each taxi operator must also educate drivers about environmental change and encourage the purchase of sustainable vehicles through training and financial incentives. The use of durable equipment for certain types of work and certain clients should also be promoted. Building a sustainable future for taxi services in the city means that they seek a new deal that involves mutual support from various parties through environmental, social and security challenges. Local and national supervisory authorities should cooperate closely with the responsible taxi companies to continuously improve the process of selection and training of drivers. The group has set three environmental levels for its members, who – over time - are encouraged to strive for the highest one. Together the cab companies are aiming for an increase in their sustainable footprint in which it is seen as important that taxis are seen to complement and strengthen public transport and in partnership with it further discourage car use. During COP21 G7 made a green impression by announcing it has cut 50% of CO2-emissions since 2007 and with 2.400 electric and hybrid cars – mostly Toyota Prius - boasts of having Europe’s largest green taxi fleet. Ambitions for 2020 are for 50% of new cars to produce less than 60g of CO2/km and by 2030 to have the whole fleet producing 20 g of CO2/km. These green ambitions were much in evidence when G7 had several grass covered taxis tour the French capital. Those who managed to hail it, got a free ride. wf His association has a special sponsorship model in mind. The BZP wants to solve challenges such as missing documentation and other paperwork problems with political support. “In return, the taxi industry will remain committed to supporting the ongoing integration of drivers and their family members beyond the training period”, promises Müller. jh PHOTO: Groupe G7 PHOTO: InOrange Communication Around the globe, corporate groups are spending billions on giving brands such as Coca-Cola the concept that the delicious sugary drink tastes of individuality and freedom. The same goes for Pepsi. The taxi industry can smile wearily at such a thing - everyone across the world knows TAXI by its almost identical lettering and the unique service behind it. TAXI is priceless. That’s the only reason why Uber complained about the business loudly and aggressively - it is and was their attempt to mark their territory in terms of the TAXI service. The TAXI brand is being insidiously watered down. Their objective is to use the concept for themselves, to demolish it in the process and then to deconstruct it. The taxi industry makes it easy for attackers to strike. The TAXI brand is neither cherished nor polished. The business conducts itself with a small-state mentality and solid brand maintenance is lacking. The business also needs to step outside its silo mindset. And that is obviously difficult in regional competitive thinking. The brand central to the business is the loser. Other areas also suffer - image, for example. The customer must feel happy, expect NEEDS ARE MET ONLINE Brands have tremendous value. The TAXI brand is neither cherished nor polished. That is fatal, says business adviser Paul Gerlach. a service with no barriers. This also applies to any payment options. The passenger wants little, just a straightforward, friendly and reliable service. Transferring this idea to Coca-Cola, this would be the successful effervescence - there simply mustn’t be any problems with the taste or the actual product itself. Brand researchers look at target groups. One being the so-called “Generation Y”, young people between 25 and 35. They are the digital generation, “digital natives”, having grown up with PCs and smartphones. Their experience is: Fulfilling your needs online is cheaper and more convenient than offline and can be done to your preference. Your competitor and the service he offers is only one click or one app away. The life and professional experience of these young people go hand in hand with the “Work Experience Generation”. In large international companies with reputable names and renowned brands, they have internalised one thing: Give it your all and the money will come later! Giving 80 percent effort is not enough, giving 100 percent is considered normal, but give 110 percent and you will win. Top performance is essential. From this, a generation has grown that is constantly experiencing top performance and consequently has strict demands in terms of service and the pleasure associated with it. In other words, firstly the service must be right and secondly a great experience matters. Service providers and retail have understood this. Even taxi travel has long since become more of an experience - since competition has become much stronger. The service is straightforward, however that alone is no longer enough. Uber has recognised this: Offer your passenger some water! It isn’t about thirsty customers, it simply shows a token of appreciation. A 15-cent basic product is enough to do that. The taxi industry has so far not found an answer. This obviously isn’t the star emblem on the bonnet; a passenger rarely insists on the Benz in the taxi queue. Hybrid vehicles would probably be considered trendier. But barely have you got in and you forget that, as a passenger, you have just chosen the climate-friendly option, to do something good. Shame! The taxi industry so far has largely inexcusably ignored every brand and experience concept - this needs to change now. pg 24 JANUARY / 2016 TAXI JANUARY / 2016 TAXI 25

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