There are many pros to using two way radios as a taxi driver, although quite a few have transitioned to mobile phones, they could still be missing out on the advanced features available with radios. In this blog is all the main reasons and features as to why two way radios may be the best suit for a taxi driver.
Most people seem to believe that it is illegal to use a radio while driving just like it is to use a phone, but that is untrue. A taxi man/woman can use a two way radio while driving legally but if a police officer believes it is affecting their driving then they can be pulled over, all the police simply recommend is to not play with the settings or buttons while driving and only use the radio when necessary to reply to incoming transmissions. There are many larger companies that use a software named “Autocab” which manages booking information, dispatch and pick up times. Yes this software can be very useful in dispatch and delivery services but for taxi’s we definitely recommend a two way radio as it can be used to do all of the above things but with added communication with your colleagues.
There are many two way radios still on the market which are affordable with many features. All the radios I’ll be showcasing are designed specifically for taxis, delivery drivers or any vehicle transportation service.
If you are reading this and are looking for a starter, entry level two way radio then the ICOM IC-F110S is the one for you. The production of this radio is beginning to be wound down by ICOM but can still be purchased online for a very affordable price. Many taxi drivers will say that they do not want to have a radio as they are “too big” or “they take up too much room”, well the IC-F110S is the smallest radio out of their range of vehicular radios and takes minimal room to install. It transmits VHF (Very High Frequencies) which is great for wide open areas with minimal obstructions. This would be a great addition to a taxi company that works mainly in country side areas or small towns and villages. It only weighs 400g and stands at 150mm wide, 40mm height and 117.5mm in depth meaning it has a small, compact design. There are 8 available channels that can be used to communicate with the fleet with channel scanning to allow the user to hear any incoming transmissions through the 4 Watt front mounted speaker. The volume can be adjusted with the volume switch so suit the users ear. A full LED display is at the front of the radio which indicates the channel in use which can be easily seen in the dark without a distracting glare while driving. Once installed the user can communicate with no calling or waiting and have easy access to talk to other drivers or their company base. The IC-F110S has a polycarbonate front panel and is made with a die cast chassis making it much more robust and reliable compared to a personal mobile phone. When making transmissions, security can be very important for sensitive information and the IC-F110S provides the necessary security for this with a password feature. The transceiver must accept a password before any transmissions can be heard to prevent anyone unauthorised talking with other drivers or the base. For anyone looking for a starter radio the ICOM IC-F110S is a perfect tool to boost communication, organisation and professionalism. If a user is wanting a UHF version then the ICOM IC-F210S is available on our website.
The next recommended radio is the Motorola DM4401e, this radio is at a higher price point but for good reason, as it has a whole lot more features than the average radio in this class. It comes with 32 channels and channel scanning, it is digital and can transmit either UHF or VHF. It can be used in all environments if that be wide open spaces or built up areas like cities or large towns. The DM4401e only weighs 300g which is very light meaning it installs very easily without any struggle. One of the most dangerous parts of a taxi drivers job is the driving and if a collision does happen then the base will need to know where the accident happened. GPS is built in to the DM4401e which will allow the base to see exactly where each driver is at any given time as long as they have TRBOnet software. TRBOnet allows the user to track radios using GPS, record transmissions and perform complex call routing, this increases safety dramatically for the drivers as they have the reassurance that they are always watched and are always safe. The GPS is also incredibly good use for if/when a taxi is stolen as the base will be able to know exactly where it is and can give that information to the police to retrieve the vehicle back. Yes a mobile phone does have GPS but can not be used in the same way with all the other features available with the radio. In addition the GPS on a phone can be turned off whereas on the radio itself it would need to be programmed to disable it. 4 programmable buttons come with the Motorola DM4401e making features easily accessible when they are needed. Each button can hold a different feature and the user can pick the features they wish to have programmed into their radio. One feature that can be useful while working is the Emergency Button feature which would send a signal to the users base and fleet once pressed notifying them that the user is in danger or has had an accident. The voice announcement feature is available to be programmed to the users radio which allows them to hear pre recorded voice announcements whenever an operation like changing channels has occurred, meaning the driver has no need to take their eyes off the road and can listen to any changes made. Integrated already into the DM4401e is an X-Pand compressor which allows the user to talk quietly while the transceiver can still hear the transmission loud and clear. The compressor basically boosts your voice louder when it appears quiet resulting in the user not having to shout or talk loud for their colleague to hear them talk. When using a mobile phone while working you will have to have it connected to hands free Bluetooth as it is illegal to use a phone while driving. When a phone is on Bluetooth the phone will pick up a lot of background noise like the car or people talking and the audio is not very clear. The DM4401e gives clear, precise and easy to hear audio with no background noise and clear voice transmissions.
For both of the radios I have spoken about, there are plenty of different accessories available. Different antennas can be attached to your vehicle allowing further transmissions or shorter (depending on the users needs). Some antennas are designed specifically for urban areas such as towns and cities and some are designed for wide open areas. Programming cables are available meaning the user can programme their radios themselves as long as they have the software.
Other spare parts like remote speaker microphones are available to be purchased online and they all have different features available. Some have a volume control switch, some have a programmable button but they can all be used to make your job easier resulting in the user having to use the radio itself less and the RSM more which could be attached to your shoulder for easier access.
A DIN mount can be added to your vehicle allowing the radio to be installed to where the radio would usually be, meaning it can be kept out the way while still being easily used while driving. The alternative could be a dash mount which allows the user to install their radio to the dashboard which could be a little closer than where the radio would be.