The primary dispatch method employed by Taxi Commander Advanced & Professional Dispatch Software. During the system implementation phase, the customer’s service area would be divided into geographic polygons. (Zones) Each zone represents a specific area of the city. The design or shape of these polygons takes into account population density, traffic flow, trip counts and natural landmarks, such that dispatch efficiency will be optimized. If desired, the customer’s existing zone layout could be duplicated for driver familiarity.
In zonal dispatch, all trip reservations are automatically zoned by the dispatch system to their appropriate zone, using either an integrated street database or a web service call to a mapping provider. Similarly, all vehicles are auto-booked via GPS to their correct zone as they move about. Drivers are informed, upon being auto-booked, as to their zone location and their position in that particular zone queue. Drivers may manually book to a zone, however their GPS will be verified to prevent ghosting. Taxi Commander’s frequent GPS update intervals (every 1/3 mile while moving + every 4 minutes while stopped + every job status update) makes manual zone booking unnecessary for the drivers, allowing them to focus on driving.
Each zone has pre-configured backup (pull) zones, usually adjacent, so that if a trip cannot be matched to a cab in the primary zone, the system will assign the trip to the first available cab in the first available pull zone. For example, Zone 1 is surrounded by zones 2, 3 and 4, which can be set, in any preferred order as the pull zones for zone 1. If a zone 1 vehicle is unavailable for a trip in that zone, it will be assigned to the first available vehicle in zones 2, 3 or 4, according to the pre-defined pull zone order.
Zonal dispatch is the industry preferred method of dispatch, as drivers prefer its orderly nature and their ability to know, at all times, their position in the queue.
Trips that are unserviceable due to the unavailability of vacant vehicles become available for Auction Dispatch. For example, a passenger is waiting for a car in zone 1. There are no cars currently available in zone 1, or in any of its designated pull zones. (2, 3 and 4) This trip would then become available for auction, allowing available drivers to bid for it. Only jobs that match the attributes of both the driver and the taxi will be displayed on the MDT. A driver may view the Auction List and bid for jobs at any time. Taxi Commander’s driver-friendly touch-screen Zone Display refreshes automatically, such that the driver may remain on this screen while vacant. A simple one-touch gesture on an available auction trip places the drivers bid. If a bid is not awarded to a bidding driver, his current zone queue position is maintained by the dispatch software.
Taxi Commander dispatch software provides a configurable parameter that prevents drivers from bidding on trips that are too far from their current GPS location. Bids beyond the pre-defined radius are ignored.
Taxi Commander supports the ad-hoc addition of logical zones or “Stands” to the zone list at any time. A classic example is an airport queue. Most airports maintain a general queue or “holding area” for cabs servicing arriving passengers.
An airport would be zoned with a proper polygon, such that taxis arriving to drop passengers at the airport would be auto-booked to the airport zone, upon trip completion. However, not all arriving taxis may want to remain at the airport and join the queue. Some may wish to deadhead back downtown, as an example. Therefore, a Stand or Sub-Zone can be created, representing the actual airport holding area. Drivers must manually book to this sub-zone in order to join the queue. If desired, this sub-zone can be attached to a master zone –in this case, the airport zone, such that drivers must be GPS verified in the master in order to manually post on the stand. In this scenario, drivers would need to actually be located within the airport grounds, in order to book into the airport holding area. The airport holding area sub-zone could be set to not allow auto-dispatch, so that a driver would never be “pulled” out of this zone –for example, to service a pickup at a local airport hotel.
Taxi Commander’s ability to create these sub-zones provides fleets with substantial flexibility. For example, each major downtown hotel could be a sub-zone of the master downtown zone. Drivers that are physically downtown can book manually into a hotel stand. Their MDT would indicate both their current position on the stand and their position downtown.
Another classic example is a shopping mall, with 3 different main doors. The mall is located in master zone 130, called SouthRidge. The east, west and north mall doors are sub-zones 131, 132 and 133. A driver posted on the east mall door knows he is up first in zone 131, as well as up 3rd in the master zone. (Southridge) Eventually, he will become up first in Southridge and could receive a job offer in the master zone or he could be pulled to a trip at one of the other mall doors.
As the name indicates, closest car dispatch software simply dispatches the vehicle physically closest to the call. Each trip reservation is geo-located automatically during the call booking process and, of course, the system know the near real-time location and status of every vehicle.
The distance between each available vehicle with the correct vehicle and driver attributes and the call is compared. The closest vehicle is offered the trip. If this vehicle ignores or rejects the call, the next closest vehicle is offered the trip and so on….
Hybrid Zonal Dispatch
Hybrid Zonal dispatch software uses a combination of both Zonal and Closest Car. A pre-defined radius (which can be changed at any time) is set, for example -1 mile. The system will determine if any vehicles are vacant within the customer-defined radius –in this case, within 1 mile of the call. If there are vehicle(s) available within the radius, the closest vehicle will be dispatched, regardless of its zone queue position. If there are no available vehicles, the system will revert to zonal based dispatch and the trip will be offered to the first vacant vehicle in the zone.
In Hybrid mode, the dispatch methodology commences with closest car, then defers to first-in-zone, then progresses to first-available-pull-zone and finally, defaults to the Auction Dispatch method. Problem jobs are added to an Auction List and broadcast on a regular basis to the MDTs.
Named Driver Dispatch (Specials)
There are two forms of Named Driver Dispatch: (1) A fleet Dispatcher can choose to offer a job to a Named driver at any time in a live dispatch fashion. Alternatively, (2) Pre-booked jobs are added to a pre-booked list already assigned to specific drivers. When the trip comes due, it will be automatically dispatched to the specified driver. This is a popular method for pre-scheduled and regular routes & standing orders.
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