The Taxi Academy has developed many courses related to the taxi industry for delivery as part of a new driver program or as part of refresher training. These modules are usually delivered in ½ day sessions but can be combined with others for a full day program and/or as part of a multi day program. In 2014 many of these programs will be available in an on-line delivery format that will provide maximum flexibility for the taxi drivers and the municipalities. Let the Taxi Academy put a program together to train new taxi drivers in your community or help existing drivers cope with the legislative and social change that is sweeping the industry.
“If the customer is talking, you are winning!”
The effective communicator can achieve greater success in life and can excel in the taxi industry. An effective communicator understands the power of listening and techniques to get other people talking. The inherent difficulty in communicating inside a taxi due to the customer not being ‘face to face’ with the driver means the driver has to work harder than most retail or hospitality service providers. This makes the first impression the most important part of the service delivery and why we focus on the “five second miracle” or the first moments with a customer as the most important.
The Ontario government has a goal to make Ontario the leading jurisdiction in North America for reducing barriers for people with disabilities. This goal will have significant impact on all businesses in Ontario with one or more employees and employers must put policies, practices and training into place to deliver service to customers with disabilities. The taxi industry must comply with customer service standards by Jan 1, 2012 and brokerages with 20 or more staff (and independent contractors) must put annual reporting systems in place to be compliant. This course deals with the legislative requirements of the act as it relates to the taxi driver and how the taxi driver should assist persons with disabilities to not just meet the requirements of the legislation but to deliver excellent customer service to a key market segment as well.
“The taxi industry is the most dangerous job in North America”
The taxi industry is well known as a dangerous business and career as it is operated 24 hours per day, drivers are working on their own and with cash and are very vulnerable to attack. This module will discuss ways a driver can limit their danger or exposure as well as give tips of what to do in the event of robbery. Safety includes defensive driving tips and passenger safety as well.
Technology and new safety standards in taxis such as cameras, debit/credit machines and emergency lights have helped but the driver needs to develop a skill set in assessing potential conflicts and dangerous customers and preventing escalation for his/her safety.
“The safety of my passengers and myself is my top priority; everyone goes home safe every night is my motto”
The image of the taxi driver is largely based on the actions of other drivers both positive and negative. This module explores ways to improve the image of taxi drivers by making good decisions that are based primarily on safety that are defensible to the public, the media, the courts and taxi stakeholders. The taxi driver will learn of the impact of poor decisions and how to use a unique decision making model to screen potential decisions to determine suitability prior to acting.
“Leveling the playing field”
Every municipality has by-laws to govern and dictate how the community wants to live together. The taxi industry has many rules for drivers, cab owners, plate owners and taxi brokers that have been enshrined in by-laws to protect the travelling public and those in the industry from abuse and poor business practices.
For the new driver there is a lot to learn about the dispatch system, computer, meter, and radio as well as policies and procedures found in the taxi business. The new driver will learn how to be in the right place at the right time to maximize revenues as well as paperwork requirements on a day to day basis.
Operating a taxi is like operating any business in Canada and there is an obligation to deliver their passengers and belongings in a safe manner. However, good drivers can make mistakes sometimes which can lead to accidents and injury. The responsibility of the taxi driver can go beyond the car however and the professional driver must think safety and security for their passengers even outside their cab.
The taxi industry is an important part of the independence of society’s most vulnerable, our senior citizens and people with disabilities. The taxi driver needs to understand the various physical and mental impairments that they will come in contact with and the special needs of these passengers. The taxi driver will learn how to assist willing special needs customers with dignity and professionalism.
A.O.D.A. (2005) legislation and specifically the transportation standard (IASR) will require all municipalities to develop a plan to provide on demand taxi service in 2014 through to 2025 to meet minimum performance standards. This will lead to an increased number of accessible taxis being available to the public but it will also require an increased level of service and training by the taxi drivers. Our Customers with Special Needs module provides hands on training for customers with mobility and sensory disabilities and includes loading/unloading wheelchairs and scooters into accessible vehicles, loading and unloading wheelchairs into a sedan taxi, proper securement of wheelchairs using the Q-Straint Securement system and methods and procedures for assisting sight impaired passengers with the ‘guided method’ of assistance.
“Protect your accountability”
This module takes the taxi driver through the technique and process to gain voluntary compliance from a passenger or other individual without violence and in a manner that will protect a person’s actions. It includes a section on effective incident or report writing as well.
Tourists and Visitors to Ontario come for any number of reasons from business to vacation and each of them represents an opportunity to impress on them the features of our communities and the pride we have in them. The taxi driver is often the first person a visitor meets and can leave a critical positive or negative impression of the area that may last a life time. A taxi driver needs to know the area and its attractions and be able to covey if asked ideas for lodging, site seeing and entertainment. Every town or city has its own unique traffic issues and characteristics that a new driver needs to be aware before starting to work professionally.
The GPS is an invaluable tool but the professional taxi driver cannot rely on it entirely in determining best routes especially when there are local traffic patterns, construction zones, special events and accidents. A taxi driver should know directions and destinations for hospitals, senior citizen homes, police stations, hotels, shopping areas, tourist attractions and all government buildings. The professional driver should know how to read a map or street guide and plan effective most direct routes.
Starting a new career as a taxi driver may bring limited financial results in the short term. Drivers need to develop the business and learn of ways to get regulars and customers who want specific drivers due to their service style, sense of humour etc. There are other ways to develop the business so that the driver isn’t always dependent on the dispatch system for their livelihood. This module helps the driver develop a business plan to get on his/her feet faster. It also examines HST, income tax return preparation and other taxi business 101 tools.
The taxi driver is alone in a hostile environment and has limited help that isn’t immediately available. He/she must use techniques to reduce conflict and understand that there are five conflict styles and there is a right time and place for each but the wrong approach in the wrong situation can escalate conflict and put the driver in danger.
This module explores the challenges of the call centre and the necessity of being a great first impression as the first point of contact with the customer. If the call centre gets incomplete or inaccurate information it is the driver who bears the wrath of the customer. The role of the call centre is to set the driver up for success and ultimately leave the customer satisfied.
As a driver that makes his/her money based on being on the road, the necessity of driving safely and getting to where you need to be on time is critical. Defensive driving means knowing your ‘situational awareness’ at all times and being able to predict the actions of other drivers who are not as professional and careful as you. The taxi industry has been hit hard by insurance claims and issues leading to higher premiums and lower income for drivers. This course uses video examples and group activities to investigate factors that lead to accidents that could have been avoided and common situations that a professional driver will be aware of for prevention strategies. The Taxi Academy has full day and half day programs developed by the Ontario Safety League and the Canada Safety Council or can customize a program to meet your organization’s needs.