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Taxi Times International - January 2015 - English

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OUR COMMENT PRODUCT NEWS Wim Faber (left) and Jürgen Hartmann. ‘Clip-it’ smartphone holder is suitable for phones between 5 and 8.5 cm wide. ‘Dock-it’ has a ball joint that is glued to the back of the smartphone. TRY IT FOR FREE A VERSATILE INDUSTRY – NOT JUST IN PARIS AND BRUSSELS … During and in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris the taxi trade showed how finely it is woven into the fabric of our society. Taxi Times is giving away 10 Wedo smartphone holders. Please send your entries with the keyword ‘Wedo’ to SMARTPHONE HOLDER THAT FITS INTO VENTILATION SLOTS In November, the City of Light - Paris (in case you had any doubts) – became the focal point for good and evil. On that fateful Friday evening of November 13, taxidrivers working in the areas where the attacks took place gave shelter to people fleeing the sites of the atrocities committed by the terrorists. Help was needed desperately and many taxidrivers chose to drive to the areas where the attacks had taken place and transported wounded victims and their family members to hospitals or home – often without expecting any form of compensation. And when some metro lines were closed for a few days, taxis provided the most flexible and safest form of public transport in a city avoiding the normal and crowded forms of public transport. OLD-FASHIONED? NO, HIGHLY ADVANCED! Our report on the Eurocab meeting on page 16 shows that the answers of the taxi industry to new digital innovations are on a high technical level, making them at least equal to the products of the start-ups. And they are precisely tailored to the needs of the industry - which makes them even better. The same happened in Brussels, a day later when the highest terror alarm was given, the entire metro system in the city was closed and many Bruxellois relied on taxis for safe and reliable transportation. To such an extent that local radio and TV focused on the taxi drivers who kept on driving. So swamped was Taxi Verts’ dispatch centre, that administrative office staff had to drop their normal work in order to answer the many phone calls to Brussels’ largest radio circuit. One taxi driver told the media how safe his customers felt taking a taxi and how – much more than normal – they needed to talk about the curfew that held their city in a dark and iron grip for days. Being part of the local society is what makes the taxi industry strong: not even hesitating when it can do a bit more than its normal job: carrying people around, yes, but also providing shelter, safety and an interested listening ear. Paris also became the symbol for another ‘good’: the climate initative, started by Paris radio circuit Groupe G7 and quickly joined by taxi companies all over Europe. Unfortunately the prior evil banned the taxi companies from showing their new climate initiative on the Paris boulevards during the climate conference COP21. It would have been so nice to see a taxi demonstration for climate measures and an (even) more environmentallyfriendly and durable taxi trade, as too many initiatives by the industry go unnoticed. The past year didn’t only highlight the taxi industry’s role in the social fabric or as part of public transport: the taxi trade is no longer only pre-occupied with the role of all sorts of apps - or TNC’s as we now call them, after the example given by our US colleagues. It is again focusing on its (many) diverse roles and challenging future. A myriad of topics used to be part of the discussions in the trade, before everyone got this myopic app-view. Conferences like the one in Berlin, an excellent BZP-initiative dealing with disruption and digitalisation –yes, of course – but also with durability and technical innovation like the autonomous car and new forms of mobility plus changing demands from our client base, showed that the future matters again to the taxi industry and its drivers and operators. The taxi industry is too versatile to only have one topic of discussion. And it is not defined by apps only. Jürgen Hartmann EDITOR Wim Faber EDITOR PHOTO: Gudrun Hartmann PHOTOS: Wedo Now that rides are hailed via data transmission to smartphones, it is essential for mobile devices to be positioned correctly inside the taxi. Smartphone holders attached to the windscreen tend to block the view of the street. Germany-based company Wedo, whose products can be purchased on their own website or through popular online shops for €12.95, have developed holders that can be installed in ventilation slots. The ball joint can be rotated 360 degrees, allowing taxi drivers to set their own optimal viewing angle on their mobile phones. The smartphones can be attached in two ways: The ‘clip-it’ model secures mobile phones between 5 and 8.5 cm wide in a clamp with a spring mechanism, whereas for the ‘dockit’ model, a magnetic metal sheet is attached to the phone. This can be done either by placing a rectangular wafer inside the smartphone case or by using an adhesive gel that can be reactivated by washing under running water. jh 6 JANUARY / 2016 TAXI

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