Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Getting the Call

When a cab dispatcher gets a call for a cab, who does he give it to? The cab who is closest to the pick up point? Or does he base the decision on something else? I've noticed that even though I tell the dispatcher where I'm going, that info isn't shared with the cabbie, because they always ask. So it got me thinking.

I would imagine just like any other work environment, dispatchers play favorites. But I'd love to hear it from the folks in the trenches. Does your dispatcher send "dream" fares to cabbies he likes and "nightmare" fares (whatever stick is being used to measure either term) to cabbies he doesn't like?

And how do cabbies get around that, if they do?


At 4:31 PM, Blogger MJ06 said...

I wondered that to.

At 11:40 PM, Blogger wil said...

With the cab company that I work for, we have queues in both Wailea and in Kihei town. When you check-in to either geographical area you are assigned a number in the rotation and advised of which cab you follow. All calls are dispatched, basically, to the first cab up. Since I drive a sedan, which is rare on Mau'i, I am often passed over by runs that require a van. If the passenger count is over 4 people or if there is a large amount of luggage then it is not possible for me to accept the assignment. The "big city" drivers have other methods and I am sure they will explain their system to you.

I do know that in companies using CAD (Computer Aided Dispatching), where cabs have MDTs (Mobile Data Terminals), that their service area is divides into zones and the dispatcher justs enters the job info into the system and it is displayed on the screens of all cabs that are in that particular zone. Drivers then press a button on their MDTs to accept the job. The driver with the fastest finger gets it. Cabs that are under fare are locked out of accepting a new assignment until they have completed that job.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Crabbie said...

I work off an MDT, though there's no race to push a button. There's a queue in each zone, and it's essentially just a computer operated version of Wil's system, which is pretty universal.

If you're a good little cabbie and pick up a reputation for helping out the dispatchers like I have, you'll start getting favors in return. This is mostly when there's a very lucrative trip scheduled for a time/place where it's very rare for a cab to be there and get the call over the MDT. The dispatcher wants to make sure these calls get covered, and the driver wants the big fare, so dispatch-friendly drivers get assigned these fares.

There are also drivers who slip money to the people who take the calls (the people who answer our phones aren't the actual dispatcher, they're basically call-center workers). The call taker will then call up the driver and tell them where all the big airport calls are going to be in the morning.

I don't do this, as it just strikes me as being lame and I make more money than the lazy guys who do this anyway.

Speaking of which, does anyone know of any dispatcher blogs? That's something I'd actually be really interested in reading.

At 3:47 PM, Blogger DC Cab Rider said...

Hey Crabbie, I'm sure what you meant to say is that a dispatcher blog would be something you'd be interested in reading in addition to our blogs, right? :)

I'd like to hear what dispatchers say too, if anyone finds one, share.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger CharterJames said...

I drive a Yellow cab in NY.

From the TLC website under FAQ's:

• How can I pre-arrange a trip in a Yellow Cab?
Only For Hire Vehicles (FHV) may have a pre-arranged agreement with clients. This means that the client may request to be picked up and dropped off at a specific location and know the amount of fare ahead of time. This system does not apply to yellow taxicabs. Generally, you cannot pre-arrange taxicabs, which have the sole right to pick up no-prearranged “street hails” and may not engage in pre-arranged service; they can be only hailed individually.

But, of course, now we have the age of cell phones.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger avocadoinparadise said...

Have you already come across this funny dispatcher blog?

At 8:14 PM, Blogger DC Cab Rider said...

Thanks ellocin1 - I've added the link to the right.


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