Taxi report outlines needed changes to industry

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is launching a full-scale review of the city's taxi industry. (Google Images)
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is launching a full-scale review of the city’s taxi industry. (Google Images)

Dozens of short- and long-term changes to the way taxis operate and are overseen in Boston need to be made to improve service for customers and better the job quality for the drivers, according to a new report.

The Taxi Consultant Report, conducted by independent consultant Nelson\Nygaard, was released Thursday by the city. It was authorized earlier this year by Mayor Thomas Menino after a Boston Globe series examining the city’s taxi industry and one of the biggest operator of cabs in Boston.

Among the key findings in the report, requests for cabs to Boston Cab, one of the largest taxi radio associations in the city, were not fulfilled about 22 percent of the time on average and that responses varied based on neighborhoods.

There are seven radio associations in Boston that dispatch to only portions of the 1,825 licensed taxis in Boston. To better serve customers, the report recommended that a central dispatch center be formed.

“The current system of dispatching appears to be ineffective at providing reliable service to customers, especially in neighborhoods beyond central Boston,” the report said. “As more drivers rely on other means for business, including on-line services, and as more customers opt to place taxi requests by other means, response times are likely to become even worse, leading to further declines in volume and reliability for customers.”

The report also said that the net annual driver income averages at about $60,000.

Based on the report, Menino said he was forming a Taxi Advisory Committee and will take steps to ensure compliance of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, nearly all of which failed to meet the city’s standards.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



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