Old-fashioned taxi service suffered when the market erupted with mobile-based ride hailing services such as Uber and Cabify, but a Mexican technology company is offering a solution intended to make taxi passengers and drivers feel safer.
The firm L1BRE is offering to equip the 138,000 registered taxis in Mexico City with two tablets, one to be operated by the driver and a second to provide information to the passenger.
The front tablet will serve as a meter and also map the fastest route to any chosen destination. The data will be visible on the passenger’s display, providing the certainty that the driver will take the fastest, and cheapest, available route and allow drivers to save on fuel.
Both tablets will also have a panic button linked directly to the city’s C5 integrated security control center in case of emergency.
“Mexico City and its metropolitan area have experienced accelerated growth, creating great areas of opportunity for [public] transport and mobility systems,” said Juan Carlos Silva, L1BRE’s chief operating officer. Those opportunities can and should be addressed through “mobile intelligence strategies,” he said.
The company’s product can modernize the service provided by the city’s taxis, and allow them to be more competitive.
So far the L1BRE system has been installed in 1,250 taxis and its complete implementation is scheduled to be completed by early 2018.
For the time being the only payment method will continue to be cash, but in the near future L1BRE is expected to make a mobile app available to taxi passengers through which they’ll be able to pay the fare.
Transportation legislation had to be modified to allow the L1BRE system to be fully implemented, a move that faced initial opposition from taxi drivers’ organizations and the manufacturers of taximeters, who at one point claimed that no other service would be able to be “as fair as a taximeter.”