We’re always adding and refining features and functionality within TaxiMap and as we get more members we get more and better suggestions. This is enormously useful and helps us build a system that is truly useful and of massive benefit to taxi companies across the UK.

With so many new features being added all the time it seemed appropriate to put up a list with a small description of each….Here’s the overview or recent TaxiMap feature additions:

In addition to these, we’ve been tinkering to make the system faster and easier to use and adding countless other small improvements.

Let’s look at these features in a little more detail….

Peak operation times
Taxi firms can specify hours of the day, days of the week, or holidays for which they will alter the taxi price per mile rate. The altered rate is specified as a multiple of the standard journey rate. So 1.1 times would be equivalent to a 10% increase in peak hours.

Directory intro text
TaxiMap provides a listing to linked local taxi directory web sites. This introductory text field allows minicab firms to enter a brief description of their services and features.

Cab firm directory
As mentioned in the Intro Text section above, the taxi directory lists TaxiMap member companies and provides information for customers.

SMS booking confirmation for customer
When a booking is made through the system, taxi administrators can send confirmation of the booking to the customer via SMS text message.

1 click email/sms booking confirmation
Taxi booking confirmations can be sent to the customer by email or SMS text message at the click of a button. All the booking information is pre-populated even down to the driver and vehicle type & registration number (if desired).

Store operational localities
Localities are used to refine operational area and attract more local business. This ensures no unnecessary bookings for journeys outside taxi operating areas.

Bookings can be edited before confirmation
Variables of a booking can be altered. This includes price, driver, pick-up date and time.

Minimum charge value field added and factored in to price calculation
There is now a minimum charge field available. This is so short taxi journeys do not calculate at too low a price. It is especially useful for very local regular business.

Custom price zones allow fixed price surcharge and/or discount
Zones allow cab firms to set areas where a different rate is charged. This is useful for journeys where congestion is high, or conversely, for journeys where a discount may be applicable. The price per mile in a zone can be lower as well as higher. An example of a lower price might be airport transfers. This new feature provides greater flexibility over zone pricing, applying a fixed fee surcharge or a discount when a zone is entered. This allows the price per mile to remain constant. For more info on zones, see our Wiki Taxi Zones Article.

Set map centre to you local area on load
This is a simple feature which allows cab companies to define where the map is centred when it loads. All that’s required is the first part of a post code, for example, ‘SW6‘ would centre the map on Fulham in London. This gives customers a better understanding of operational areas when the plugin is used on a website. If not set, the map shows the whole of the UK.

Use your own booking form with price info calculated by TaxiMap
This advanced feature had been requested by some members who had their own booking system, but wanted the benefit of the TaxiMap price calculation estimate. When a custom booking form URL is defined, TaxiMap passes booking data it gathers to this form. Since this is quite an advanced feature, taxi companies are advised to consult their web designer/developer or booking system provider for help with integration. We will publish more information on the TaxiMap Wiki shortly.

Taxi driver management
TaxiMap will now collect and store information about drivers. This is primarily to make the booking process more streamlined. When a driver is already in the system he can be selected and allocated to a particular job. In this case, some basic information will be supplied to the customer when confirmation is sent. This gives customers confidence and provides security. (Information can include driver’s name, vehicle colour, make & model, and vehicle registration number.)

Dispatch taxi drivers by SMS text message
If a driver is allocated to a booking, a notification can be sent to the driver with details by SMS text message. Due to the 160 character limit of text messages not all info can be supplied so drivers are advised to have a back up system available capable of receiving email or browsing the Internet where complete booking info is available.

Vehicle type and price management
This feature allows control over the types of vehicle available for taxi journeys. In the calculation system users are presented with 2 prices. Taxi firms can define the vehicles for which these prices are calculated through this feature. After the initial price is calculated for the primary vehicle type, any additional vehicle prices are calculated using values set in vehicle type management. For example, a minibus may require a 50% premium over a standard saloon car, and so a minibus would carry a size factor of 1.5.

Booking form also shows map of journey
A minor enhancement, but worth a mention… The booking form did not previously display a diagram of the journey on a map. Now, a mini-map is shown containing points on the journey during the booking process.

Credit card payment processing for taxi bookings by Paypal, SagePay, NoChex and others…
This feature is still somewhat in development, but again worth a mention. Taxi companies will be able to take payment – either as a deposit of the full journey fee – using one of several online payment gateways. TaxiMap do not plan to process these payments directly, rather the customer will be sent through to the gateway of choice where payment will be collected directly. We are working with well known payment processing gateways such as PayPalNoChex, SagePay (formerly Protx), Google Checkout, and Secure Hosting. To make use of these payment processing gateways, Taxi companies must set up an account with one or more of them. We have previously discussed credit card processing in our blog article: Taking Credit Card Payments for Taxi Bookings Online.