Victorian Taxi Directorate, Victoria Australia

Web mapping solution provides consistent taxi fare estimates and helps promote public acceptance of pre-paid taxi fares.

Business Challenge
The Victorian Taxi Directorate (VTD) regulates the taxi industry through licensing, accrediting drivers, developing policy and providing business and information technology support to the industry.

Fare evasion is a problem for the taxi industry and costs millions of dollars in lost revenue every year. To combat this pre-paid taxi fares were made mandatory between 10pm and 5am. To manage passenger expectations and provide transparency, a website was quickly developed that could derive an estimate of distance and fare. However, this text-based system had limited functionality and provided inaccurate estimates of taxi fares.

The VTD wanted an authoritative source of information for consistent fare calculation that could be accessed by taxis and the community via the web or mobile phone. To create such a system, VTD turned to Geomatic Technologies (GT) for help.

Solution Overview
GT developed a new Taxi Fare Estimator (TFE) application that incorporates spatial capabilities to deliver improved functionality over the existing website. The new TFE application facilitates accurate fare estimation, provides an attractive graphical user interface and integrates with other relevant data sources.

With assistance from the Microsoft eGovernment Innovation Fund (MeGIF), GT delivered a solution that can be accessed in a variety of ways:

  • From desktop PC via a webpage built with Microsoft’s Bing Maps. The suggested driving route is displayed on the map along with an estimated fare.
  • From mobile phone via texting a to-and-from address and receiving an estimate by SMS.
  • From a mobile browser that provides a simple way to calculate a fare from your mobile phone or smartphone.
  • From a windows gadget that sits on the desktop of a PC to provide easy access.

The TFE utilises the VMAS or Victorian Mapping and Address Service, a service developed by GT to provide authoritative address information and locate all the latest property addresses in the state, along with Microsoft’s Bing Maps to calculate the best route and quickly display that route over a content rich map.

Outcomes
The TFE is live at www.transport.vic.gov.au and delivers:

  • A single point of truth with precise distance calculation for fare estimation.
  • Ease of access to information for taxi operators and customers.
  • High service reliability and rapid response.
  • Consistent fare information to both the driver and the customer to prevent fare disputes.
  • The display of route information along with travel path and distance.
  • Additional information such as the location of taxi ranks and selected landmarks.
  • Remote device access including an SMS service.