Taxis: Sustainable mass transit needs sustainable micro transit

photo Taxi Dubai

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Successful cities depend on efficient public transport working in conjunction with other sustainable travel options. Taxi services are an individual, mostly door-to-door micro transit service, offered to the public predominantly at a local level. By the very nature of their services, taxis are an integral element in the multimodal mobility chain.

They complement the mobility chain and enlarge public transport’s service portfolio, filling in the gaps left by traditional mass transit in inaccessible, decentralised areas. Taxis can extend the catchment area of public transport, offering a great solution for first and last mile issues. They play a determinant role as partners by providing feeder services between remote housing areas and formal public transport routes, or by serving areas with a poor or non-existent formal service.

The greater the decentralisation of urban activities, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to serve urban areas with public transit. Decentralisation promotes long distance trips, which causes higher operating costs and revenue issues for flat fare transit systems.

Improve customer service and competitiveness

Taxis are an important element of the transport system not only because of the connectivity function they can have in the mobility chain but also for their ability to provide an effective proxy of the private car but with some extra comfort characteristics (no need to waste time looking for parking, refueling, planning and providing maintenance..). In some countries, taxis even offer the perception of enhanced security.

It is important that taxis are seen to complement and reinforce public transport services rather than compete with them and this partnership allows reduced car-ownership. Taxis play an invaluable role in improving customer services and the competitiveness of the sector.

The UITP Taxi Working Group is made up of taxi authorities, operators, academics and industry companies and serves as a forum for contacts, knowledge exchanges and professional discussions amongst UITP members interested in new developments and prospects for taxi transport worldwide.

The next meeting of the Taxi Working Group will be held in New York, and will be held in conjunction with a Study Tour of the New York and Chicago Taxi Systems from 16 - 20 June. Also, following on from a successful first edition in 2012 in Abu Dhabi, the 2nd UITP Taxi Conference and Showcase will be organised in 25-27 November 2014 in Doha, Qatar. Please find the call for papers for this conference here. UITP has also developed a three-day training programme on Taxi Transport Fundamentals. The upcoming programme is planned for January 2015.

Members can join the UITP Combined Mobility Platform on MyUITP here.

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