Cabs Smart

Cabs Smart grow their driver numbers by 20% during their first three months on Sherlock Taxi

The background

Cabs Smart launched in 2011 with just two vehicles. The business has since grown to over 60 vehicles servicing Ipswich and the surrounding areas. With a busy control room and walk-in office in the heart of Ipswich town centre, the business has expanded to the neighbouring towns of Woodbridge and Felixstowe. Revenue is fairly evenly split between account and retail bookings with the company supporting a number of high profile account clients including Ipswich hospital and local council school runs.


Cabs Smart’s incumbent system was an off-the-shelf product that offered limited functionality. There were two main challenges for the business: routine processes were manual and labour-intensive leading to staff being caught up in the ‘day to day’ running of the business and unable to spend time thinking about the wider growth strategy. This was compounded by the inability to export data and reports from the system to review operations.

These problems meant that Cabs Smart had reached a point where it was difficult to grow the business any further with their existing technology. Additionally, when they did recruit new drivers, the system and their devices would often crash and prevent them from working.

Cabs Smart researched the market and had product demonstrations from a number of suppliers before making a decision about which supplier to choose. Having first learned about Sherlock Taxi at the 2017 PHTM Expo, the business owners were very impressed with the team’s knowledge of the taxi industry – not just technology


One of the most significant changes for Cabs Smart is auto allocation. Prior to implementing Sherlock Taxi, the business had manually allocated all jobs. There was some scepticism from controllers and even the owners regarding auto allocation for a small fleet of vehicles. However, staff were quick to see the benefits with Sherlock Taxi’s advanced auto allocator – built based on managing Addison Lee’s 37,000 jobs per day – Cabs Smart can manage their fleet in the most efficient way possible and maximise the number of jobs they can do during peak times, whilst retaining priority for their key account customers.

Auto allocation has also reduced their controllers’ workloads as he or she simply needs to monitors the ‘Issues’ screen which highlights any jobs that could have a problem, such as a driver running late to the pickup address. This means that controllers can proactively manage the small number of jobs which do not run completely smoothly and ensure that customers are happy. In cases where the controller believed the system allocated a job incorrectly, staff simply noted the job number and our development team could review the allocation logs and explain why the system had made that particular decision.

Cabs Smart now have much greater visibility of their business operations. With their incumbent system, they were unable to extract data from the system. They can now run a number of reports, including a report showing driver statistics which can be used to verify any queries that drivers have on ‘rent day’.

Bespoke development

We were also able to deliver a tailored pricing solution to Cabs Smart. Although Sherlock Taxi already offers a comprehensive and flexible pricing module, Cabs Smart had a particular feature which Sherlock Taxi did not support; the business sets a maximum mileage price for certain jobs. The reason for this is twofold; firstly, it is to prevent a driver’s choice of route leading to a significantly higher price (for example, by avoiding traffic and not taking the most direct route) and secondly, the business could use this for marketing purposes by publicising a maximum price for a given journey.

This is a pricing strategy which our team had not come across before and as such, the functionality was not built into Sherlock Taxi. But in just one month, our development team was able to provide bespoke development to meet Cabs Smart’s needs and deliver this unique feature in time for go-live.

Outcome & results

As a result of migrating their operations to Sherlock Taxi, Cabs Smart have been able to harness technology to grow their business. They have greater visibility and can review their drivers on a daily basis to see who is performing and who may need a little bit of additional support.

It is still early days for the business, but in the three months since go-live they have already grown their driver numbers by 20%.

What’s more, Cabs Smart recently won the Silver award for Private Hire Company of the Year (1-80 vehicles) at the 2017 Professional Driver Qsi Awards – hopefully a sign of many more great things to come!

“One of the deciding factors for us was that the team at Sherlock Taxi really understand taxi businesses. They aren’t pushy sales people and seemed genuinely interested in our business and helping us. We have had previous providers not being upfront about the true costs involved in switching systems but Sherlock were completely transparent about this”
- Ian Fountain, General Manager at Cabs Smart
Journeys per month across the city

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