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EcoCar System - tomorrow's taxis today
You would think little can be done that could revolutionise taxis. After all, it comes down to giving people rides for money, right? However, if you travel outside Poland – not necessarily to countries regarded as more developed – you will see that a lot remains to be done. Even a single taxi company's fleet is more often than not a random collection of vehicles and it is usually the driver who decides what model to choose so that it suits him or her personally rather than professionally. In Poland, you recognise a car as being a cab by the number of ads on the body, not a distinct model (like in Britain) or at least colour (like with the Yellow Cabs in New York). Well, things are bound to change thanks to EcoCar System, a subsidiary of Green Capital City – a whole new personal transportation operator in Warsaw. The company does not look up to its current competitors and aims to give a thorough makeover to the idea of a cab as it is perceived in Poland. How do they plan to do that?
First of all, EcoCar bets on a fleet composed of identical cars, which also stand out in the streets. For most part, these are Ford Mondeo liftbacks, with a couple of estates and Galaxy vans in reserve, to cover all possible needs. The cars are white, with green wrapping around the waist and multifunctional, broad beacon lights on the roofs. Thanks to this, the cars are easily distinguishable as cabs belonging to a particular taxi company. But there is more to make EcoCar one of its kind: the service standard. When ordering a fare, the customer determines the destination and receives a not-more-than price estimate. The driver, on the other hand, receives a planned route from the dispatcher and calculated on the basis of up-to-date congestion information. The driver must follow the route precisely, until he or she is instructed otherwise. And once you get on board, you have a range of personalisation options at your disposal, including surfing the Web (through a built-in screen or your own device), video conferences (there is a camera inside), selection of music, interior colour and even the scent inside! How much will all that be?
Slightly more than competitors demand, probably, but considering all the on-board options, the prices remain attractive.
Yet, the above is nothing compared to the greatest innovation introduced by the Warsaw company. EcoCar System take pride in being the first company not only in Poland, but probably in the whole world (except maybe for Germany, Japan and the US, where small-scale tests have been undertaken) to use fully electric taxis. At the moment of writing this text, only a fraction of the 100-vehicle fleet was converted to electric drive, but the plans for future are ambitious – by the end of 2012 the company wants to reach the 1000 threshold in terms of vehicles number and ultimately 2000. Out of these, ¾ are going to be converted, while the remaining ¼ will still use combustion engines and fuels for the sake of further journeys. According to the authorities of Warsaw, there are 9300 licensed taxis in the city altogether, which means EcoCar System wants to be visible and reach a remarkable market share.
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