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TomTom Taxis in Amsterdam

by Amsterdam.com
​The Dutch GPS maker TomTom has launched a new system for ordering taxis from restaurants, hotels, and other business hubs in Amsterdam.

The giant GPS system manufacturer TomTom, run by Steven Blom and Otto Ruys, the two co-founders of an Amsterdam.company called New Toast that has been developing web and mobile services since 2006, has quietly launched a new system for ordering taxis from restaurants, hotels, and conference centers, in Amsterdam. The Dutch GPS maker also appears to be looking at providing other means of ordering a taxi through mobile apps, Facebook apps, and through websites.

The new TomTom taxi ordering service will apparently work in two parts, the first is the Taxi Butler, a small box with a single button to call a taxi that will easily fit on any hotel or resort’s reception desk. The second part addresses the receiving end of the order service where taxicabs using a new TomTom connected device called Taxi Assistant will be connected to a TomTom server that matches demand and supply based on the respective locations of the orders received. TomTom project manager Steven Blom told the Dutch daily newspaper Der Telegraaf that once a ride has been accepted and acknowledged by the taxi driver and the customer is onboard, the taxi company will pay TomTom a fee for the service of about $1.50 per ride.

The Taxi Butler part of the service is expected to cost about $50 excluding any applicable Value Added Taxes (VAT) and its use will be free for the local business that employ them. The Taxi Assistant portion of the service will cost around $200 excluding the VAT, and includes a two year subscription to TomTom’s connected services. So far, it appears TomTom has restricted the Taxi Service launch to just the city of Amsterdam and has not communicated about it or sent out any press releases to global media contacts in order to keep it as a beta test for as long as is possible. But given the novelty of the concept, it seems the new taxi system could have a bright future in many other parts of the world, and especially in Europe where a huge market share of taxi drivers already use TomTom GPS devices in their cars. Linking navigation in a hardware device directly to customer supplied service request leads does represent a big differentiation from those GPS players that currently work only through smart phone apps to connect taxis and their potential customers. Stay tuned for further developments as TomTom’s Taxi Butler and Taxi Assistant will likely make it to the U.S in the near future.

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