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Canberra Cabs Kerfuffle

By che - 23 November 2006 20

ABC Online has this little snippet on Canberra Cabs booking system crashing last night.

The more interesting part seems to have happened when the Canberra Cabs Chief was intereviewed on 666 this morning and was totally unrepentant as to the problems caused by the crash and lack of backups. When asked he said he couldn’t even be bothered phoning the airport and letting them know that there might be a rush of people arriving late for their planes.

From the sounds of it it was a lively little talk back session with many people asking why they are allowed to maintain their monopoly, and some speculating that mother Stanhope might rule that calls to cabs must be answered by a human, which is stupid and shortsighted in itself, they just need a better system.

What’s Your opinion?


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20 Responses to
Canberra Cabs Kerfuffle
ozmreeee 5:54 pm 23 Nov 06

Hmmmm … seems like there’s a real issue here … not one of you rednecks (now if only I could find a way to change my nick to wagga_wagga) seems is prepared to defend Canberra Cabs!!!!!

Unbeliever 5:19 pm 23 Nov 06

‘Can anyone honestly say they’ve ever used a voice recognition system via phone that’s worked properly?’

Sydney cabs have a voice recognition system which I’ve used quite happily before.

VYBerlinaV8 4:42 pm 23 Nov 06

My company won’t use cabs in Canberra any more – too expensive and unreliable. It’s hire cars and airport parking all the way for us!

Open up the free market, get some competition going, it’s the only way.

Mr Evil 4:22 pm 23 Nov 06

The booking system is shit, and I hope it comes back to bite the company on the arse.

aich jay 4:11 pm 23 Nov 06

Fat fingers syndrome – my seplling si applaling!

aich jay 4:10 pm 23 Nov 06

I caught a number of taxis on a vist to Canberra earlier this week, and the new phone booking system is abysmal. I booked a taxi from one of the major federal govt buildings in Parkes, and I was given a reference number to say I’d successfully made the booking. 25 minutes later and no taxi, and a call to Canberra Cabs resulted in advice that, despite bhaving been given a reference number, the booking did not exist. This was before the system-wide crash.

Anotehr major headach is that a lot of places in Canberra, especially in the Parliamentary triangle, are not know by their street address – think Questacon, Albert Hall, etc. The reception in the building from where I booked a taxi had set up a small sign advising how to navigate the voice recognition system and giving the street adress to say. I wouln;t have the faintest idea, for example, what Questacon’s street address is and I would imagine that it would therefore not be possible to book a cab from there using the system.

Oh, and another gripe, what’s with the deal where they won;t pick you up from a street corner – they insist on a street address for pickup. It’s absolute bullshit if you’re out and about and just want a cab but can’t call one to the intersection you happen to be standing at! Here’s a challenge – try getting a cab to pick you up from Commonwealth Avenue on the opposite side of the raod from Albert Hall – I tried once and almost missed my friend’s wedding.

While I’m laying it on to Canberra Cabs with a trowel, can the bleeding drivers please turn off their lights if they’ve taken a a radio dispatch – there is noting more frustrating that flagging a cab that is empty and has it’s ‘fore hire’ light on only to have it sail past, tie and time again. I once walked from Civic to Ainslie in the absolute worst rain-strom and 7 cabs went past, all with the ‘for hire’ light on, none stopped, despite me practically throwing myself into the road in front of them (a la the Muppet movie).

However, there may be a solution! While I was still waiting for the taxi booking that their new system lost, a hire car pulled up and asked if I wanted a ride – I wold have accepted it too, as he advised the rates are the same as in a taxi, except that there’s a $25 minimum and I only had to go into Civic (with luggage). So if the trip is going to be more than $25 a hire car may be the way to go. (sorry, don’t know the company name or number but they’ll be in the yellow pages I would imagine.)

By the way, Herr Stanhope, shouldn’t, in a capitalist market economy, the market be able to determine whether more than one cab company can be supported? If there’s not enough business for two or more they will fail, and then we can go back to the monopoly, but surely we can give it a go.

Ok, rant over.

shauno 3:49 pm 23 Nov 06

Yep I am never going back to Canberra Cabs except dodgy cash jobs off the meter from a couple of taxi mates. All other transport will be via hire car companies.

No doubt Stanhope owns a hire car company otherwise why would he persist with this bloody monopoly.

justbands 2:43 pm 23 Nov 06

Hello? Canberra Cabs? You reading this stuff? People prefer other options!

Growling Ferret 2:37 pm 23 Nov 06

It cost an extra $2 from the airport to Gungahlin for me to get a Silver service last week… worth every cent

seepi 2:37 pm 23 Nov 06

This system is designed to only work if the caller understands the system, the pick up destination is already in their system and the caller has a clear speaking voice.
It makes no allowance for tourists, street corner pickups, places with several names (eg Questacon/the Science Museum), those with an accent, new shops etc that are not yet in their system. For all these reasons there should be a human backup if the Voice Computer can’t get it right.
Not to mention anyone who lives at street numbers like 13 or 30, or 15 or 50 will have trouble getting the machine to understand. And the poor people in Street Place in Watson must have a shocker of a time.

justbands 2:35 pm 23 Nov 06

> I won’t bother with taxis again.

They’re certainly not doing themselves any favours with this system, or with their attitude in response to the critisisms. “How to destroy your customer base 101”.

emd 2:31 pm 23 Nov 06

I needed to get to/from Canberra Airport last week, so I used hire cars both ways. I found both CBD and the independent operator to be on time, friendly, and good drivers. I won’t bother with taxis again.

johnboy 2:31 pm 23 Nov 06

It’s funny, we keep being told that Canberra is too small to support competing taxi services, and yet towns much smaller (queanbeyan?) seem to be able to support taxi services.

Give us competition and let us choose the service that delivers what we want rather than passing more laws.

justbands 2:25 pm 23 Nov 06

> Stanhope might rule that calls to cabs must be answered by a human, which is stupid and shortsighted in itself, they just need a better system.

I don’t agree…at all. There is NO better system, that’s the problem. Can anyone honestly say they’ve ever used a voice recognition system via phone that’s worked properly? It’s poor service provision, designed not for the clients…but to cut costs….& jobs. I gave up trying to get a cab to “Phillip Avenue” a few weeks back…after FIVE attempts. It’s a stupid, stupid system….like they ALL are. Yes…I HATE them with some passion.

ozmreeee 2:10 pm 23 Nov 06

I haven’t had to use a cab for some time, – it’s cheaper to park at the airport than catch a return cab, so I have no experience with the new system.

Having said that, a lot of people I speak to about it have expressed their anger at it’s inability to comprehend even the simplest English.

Apparently the secret is to f@#$%^&ing curse to the heavens and you get put through to a human 🙂

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