As we approach the end of another year, we wanted to take some time to reflect on a busy 12 months; both for Autocab and our industry.
For Autocab, it all started back in January with Aqua Cars in Portsmouth coming onboard. As the largest firm on the South Coast, Aqua Cars have been a great addition to the Autocab network and we’ve really enjoyed watching their automation levels increase over the year.
In March, we attended the International LCT Show in Las Vegas, USA. This was the first of numerous exhibitions, events and trade shows across the UK, US and Europe that we attended in 2017. It was great to see so many familiar faces as well as new ones that would become friends over the year.
Levelling the playing field
April was particularly busy. The annual Autocab User Conference took place in Cheshire. We were joined by over 180 taxi and private hire operators for a day full of talks, presentations and Adrian Hayes’ keynote speech on ‘Strategies for Success’. If you missed the day, why not check out the video highlights here.
One of the highlights of the User Conference was the launch of our soft merge module. After visiting and speaking with numerous firms across the UK, it was clear that by working together, firms could: firstly, fight back against ride-hailing apps; and secondly (and perhaps more importantly), increase customer service levels. Our soft merge module allows just this, and we’re delighted to say that there are firms across the UK who are using it today.
April also saw one of the largest fleets in the US, Total Transit in Arizona, join the Autocab network. When we made a commitment to bring our innovative cloud-based booking and dispatch solutions to the US, we were determined to use our experience to help local firms level the playing field against larger corporations. As such, we’re delighted to see a growing number of these firms choosing to make the switch to Autocab and we look forward to continuing this in 2018.
Transforming businesses across the UK
We’re proud of our network of customers and we’re proud to work with some of the most passionate and determined operators in our industry. That’s why, in May, we launched iGo Everywhere. iGo is the UK’s largest network of taxi and private hire operators and brings large and small firms together and helps them transform from local taxi firms to national booking platforms.
The culmination of this work was our presence at the PHTM exhibition in Milton Keynes.
By inviting attendees to talks on our stand, we were able to present our vision for our industry and how we can all work together to improve it. What delighted us most though was your response to iGo. You told us how it could be a ‘game-changer for our industry’ and help ‘transform your business’; all whilst keeping the brand name you’ve spent years working hard to create.
Opportunities to innovate
The summer months flew by with the British summer seeming to leave before it had truly arrived. That doesn’t mean we weren’t busy though!
In June, there was the ProDriver Congress with seminars on disruptive technology and autonomous vehicles. It’s this last point that presents a huge opportunity for our industry to innovate in the coming years. Why? Put simply, operators would no longer be restricted to just private hire bookings. As autonomous vehicles become more prevalent, firms will be able to expand their share of all trips (think car journeys, rental hire, bus trips, etc.) and thus become transport-as-a-service providers.
July saw us welcome Metro Taxis, Connecticut to our network as well as release major software updates for Ghost Cloud, Phantom and Driver Companion. These releases were driven by you! We’re constantly listening to and working with our existing customers to develop new features to problems and challenges they’re facing. We won’t stop there though so watch this space; we have some exciting developments coming in the New Year.
In September came news event after news event, certainly for London-based operators. First, we saw Uber stripped of their operating licence in London, a decision that is still going through various appeals and reviews. Next came the court ruling that Addison Lee’s drivers were wrongly classed as self-employed. Finally, came Transport for London’s decision to change the way it determines licensing fees. Let’s face it, September certainly was a newsworthy month!
An industry on the rise
The months of October and November continued at a similar pace. In October, we attended three exhibitions and trade shows in the UK, Europe and US, bringing our total for 2017 into double figures. November was just as busy! We found out our Passenger App had been shortlisted in the UK App Awards Innovation Award category; competing alongside multi-billion-pound airline easyJet; and attended the Pro Driver QSI Awards in London.
The Pro Driver QSI Awards were a great evening of celebration. To see so many operators from right across the UK recognised for their outstanding work in 2017 was fantastic. A special mention must go to all operators across the North West who came to the aid of Manchester during the attack on an Ariana Grande concert in May. It certainly was an emotional moment when Street Cars, Manchester collected the Special Recognition Award on behalf of all operators and drivers, with the moment encapsulated by this quote from Sameer Arshad of Street Cars:
“This is our city, at the end of the day. Money’s not everything.”
The awards proved to us that, contrary to popular belief, we truly do have an industry that is on the rise and set well for the future.
It hasn’t all been exhibitions, product launches and events though. Throughout 2017 our dedicated teams have welcomed over 80 firms to the Autocab network. We’ve seen the network grow to over 140,000 vehicles with over 20 million passengers using our customers’ firms in the UK alone. We’ve developed over 200 features and deployed twelve major releases; all completed in-house by our R&D and product management teams.
As you can see, 2017 was a very busy year! But we’re certainly not complaining, and we can’t wait to see what 2018 has to offer.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Safa and the Autocab team