Roads and traffic can change in an instant and taxi drivers need to be on top of their game to reach and drop off passengers safely and on time.
There are many sat-navs and navigational apps to help drivers reach their destination, as well as trying to avoid long delays in traffic.
One app that has been grabbing drivers’ attention recently is Waze, which provides real-time alerts from other drivers and riders to help avoid traffic, potholes, police enforcement, accidents, or objects on the road. There are currently more than 140 million people who use the app, helping keep everyone updated on the roads.
While taxi drivers’ work is varied and flexible, when they have a booking coming up, they can plan the route in Waze, which will plot the journey and notify the driver when it’s time to set off to ensure they arrive on time. This feature is handy for professionals such as taxi drivers who have to run their business on the go and consider everything from cleaning, refuelling or recharging, maintenance and rest breaks.
As well as using technologies available to sat-navs, the up-to-the-minute updates from other road users means drivers know what’s around the next corner and can be re-routed along roads that are still clear and haven’t been snarled up by others trying to avoid a particular jam.
It can also work out times to the nearest petrol and EV charging stations, and let the driver know whether the planned pitstop will make them late.
And, whether a taxi driver has private hire insurance or public hire insurance, Waze has a taxi mode specifically for the industry which lets drivers know about bus lanes and other areas ordinary drivers are prohibited from using.
One of the problems drivers face with sat-navs is keeping them up to date, especially as changes are made to our roads.
During the pandemic, speed limits have changed in some areas, speed cameras have been introduced in others and restrictions have been brought in to some roads and areas.
One of the advantages of Waze is not only that it is up to date, it alerts drivers that they are doing something wrong, such as speeding, or entering an area they shouldn’t.
The app is so popular that the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association is encouraging taxi drivers to use it to make their lives on the road easier and safer.
LTDA membership senior officer Kanize Cozens told Taxi-Point: “I’m a big fan of technology. When it comes to setting off on a journey, even one I do on a regular basis, I always set up Waze.
“There are other similar apps out there, but for me, this is the most user friendly and has the most useful features on it, particularly for cabbies, who already know where they are going.”
But it is even more useful for taxi drivers who are collecting or dropping off passengers in areas they are unfamiliar with, especially those with clean air zones, or congestion charging, which could land the passenger with an even bigger fare to pay.
Taxi drivers operating in cities with airports could find themselves crossing into different counties with different restrictions as they meet and drop off passengers and it could be invaluable to them.
While taxi drivers overall feel nothing beats local knowledge, many have been positive about apps such as Waze, especially to locate addresses and door numbers and get an idea of traffic in the area.
But they see technology as a tool that is best used alongside the driver’s knowledge, which cannot be beaten.
All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.