“Sherlock gives us the technical tools to keep on delivering for our drivers and customers. We can deliver on schemes such as London’s public sector scheme without needing to find workaround solutions and abide by regional legislation to ensure we can continue to provide great service to our clients while also meeting strict regulatory requirements,” - Tony Marson, Managing Director at Comcab
- 2,500 black cab drivers
- Custom features to deliver London’s public sector scheme
Comcab is London’s largest fleet of black taxis and was acquired in 2021 by London’s Addison Lee Group. Both Addison Lee and Comcab are synonymous with safety and quality, and working together the two brands offer a premium service which includes taxi, private hire and courier.
As a modern and innovative business, Addison Lee has always been passionate about technology and using technology to drive efficiency and business growth. Since the acquisition, Comcab has moved to Sherlock Taxi dispatch, the sister solution to Addison Lee’s proprietary technology and developed by the same tech partner.
Comcab chose to partner with Sherlock for a number of reasons. As Addison Lee is an existing customer of Sherlock’s parent company, the team knew that the technology would be of a high standard and the tech team would be knowledgeable and supportive. Sherlock also has a number of other customers that are a mix of private hire and black taxi fleets, meaning that Sherlock has developed several features to support black taxi fleets specifically.
In London, black taxi licences are awarded regionally. For example, a driver with a green badge can do any job in London but a driver with a yellow badge can only do jobs within their region.
These kinds of rules can present a challenge in ensuring efficient allocation of the fleet as a whole as it requires quite complex algorithms to automate dispatch. Sherlock’s allocation algorithms are configurable and offer so much flexibility to clients in terms of prioritisation – there is so much that operators can do, that no Sherlock clients have their allocation set up in the same way.
Comcab also required taxi meters linked to card machines in order to meet licensing obligations. Sherlock’s team developed an integration in which the driver can turn the meter on and their status will automatically be updated in Sherlock as ‘busy’. Meter prices can also be read from Sherlock to update within the system.
Additionally, the team delivered bespoke functionality to support the local London public sector scheme which provides subsidised journeys for some London residents with serious mobility or visual impairments.
Implementation and the future
Comcab had technical and project management staff from Sherlock onsite during the implementation and go live.
Prior to go live, Comcab’s staff and drivers received in depth system training to support a smooth transition to the new system. On go live day, there were a lot of technical changes. In addition to the incumbent dispatch system being replaced, Comcab’s telephony system was replaced simultaneously. Having Sherlock’s technical staff onsite was very helpful in dealing with any teething problems as they arose.
By implementing new technology and partnering with a dispatch provider that is continuously evolving to meet the needs of the market, Comcab’s senior leadership shows their commitment to forward-thinking business.
Comcab has 2500 black cab drivers who are now powered by Sherlock Taxi dispatch and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. As one of Europe’s largest fleets, the leadership team is happy that Sherlock allows them to really think about how they want the business to operate and implement those processes, rather than having to find “workaround” solutions that are available within the technology in use. Now, Comcab’s team has realised that they don’t need to make compromises to get what they want – they really can have it all from their technology, and actually, by pushing outside of that comfort zone and implementing new tech, Comcab is able to evolve and stay relevant regardless of what happens within the wider context of the market.
Through configurable and customisable technology, going forward Addison Lee intends to make Comcab’s black taxis available across all its existing booking platforms – enhancing their product offering to consumers in London.
“Sherlock gives us the technical tools to keep on delivering for our drivers and customers. We can deliver on schemes such as London’s public sector scheme without needing to find workaround solutions and abide by regional legislation to ensure we can continue to provide great service to our clients while also meeting strict regulatory requirements,”