Five new features of Sherlock’s auto-allocator
Automated dispatch technology should be helping taxi business to drive up efficiency, reduce dead mileage and increase client’s profitability. Sherlock customers average 98% automation — even during their busy periods. Sherlock team is always developing the product to make it even better than before and here are five of the latest improvements to the allocation technology.
New ‘bids’ allocation in the driver app
During busy periods, customers might not always have a driver close by to do the job. For those times when the auto-allocator can’t find an appropriate driver, Sherlock team has implemented a ‘bids’ function which posts the job in the driver app and any empty drivers nearby can ‘bid’ for the job if they want to.
Auto-allocation improvements including ‘offers’
If client doesn’t want to use the bids feature, Sherlock Taxi can send jobs to ‘offers.’ With this feature, the system offers the job to certain drivers within the area if the auto-allocator hasn’t found somebody to do the job. If no drivers accept the job, the offer can be sent repeatedly until somebody does. The feature is also configurable which means that client can choose who to send the offer to, for example, it could be sent to the nearest five drivers to the job or to all available drivers and the fastest person to press accept will be allocated.
Automatic ‘drop in 5’ and ‘drop in 10’ updates
‘Drop in 5’ and ‘drop in 10’ statuses allows drivers to signal that they are five or ten minutes away from the drop off address of their current job so that Sherlock Taxi can begin considering them for jobs in the vicinity of the drop off. This feature has the double benefit of maximising fleet efficiency and reducing dead mileage. Sometimes drivers forget to use these buttons so Sherlock team added functionality that allows the system to intelligently recognise that the driver is near the drop off using GPS information and automatically change the driver’s status.
Passenger on board allocation
All taxi companies have quiet spells throughout the day and their main busy periods where they need to maximise the fleet to make sure they do as many jobs as possible. In those busy periods, if client hasn’t got enough drivers on the road it can be difficult to allocate all of the jobs. Sherlock team recently added functionality which allows the auto-allocator to begin searching for drivers in ‘passenger on board’ or POB status. Sherlock Taxi can take the drop off address of drivers in POB status into consideration, rather than only looking at empty drivers and drive up efficiency across the fleet as a whole.
ETA calculation and delays fine-tuning
Sherlock Taxi uses Google real-time traffic conditions to calculate a response time when inputting a new job in the booking screen. In addition, system has now colour-coded ETA calculations in either green or yellow. Green means that a suitable driver has already been found and that is the real delay the passenger can expect; whereas yellow is used when a driver hasn’t been found yet and the standard delay is displayed to the telephonist. Product’s team has added a window which lets the telephonist check to see if there is another vehicle type, for example a 7-seater, which could reach the pick-up address more quickly to give the passenger a choice of how long they wait for a car.