A service called “Taxi Butler” was launched in Brussels on Thursday, announced the GTL (National Group of Taxi Companies) in a press release. The idea is to set up boxes with a “button” for clients at Brussels establishments (restaurants, bars, hotels, even hospitals). The person needing a taxi will press the button and a taxi will be sent to the location. The traveller will be able to track its progress on the box screen..
“There are currently approximately 10 such buttons in Horeca establishments,” explains Jean-Michel Courtoy, CEO of Taxis Verts, the taxi company which initiated the new project. To begin with, Taxis Verts aims to install approximately 100 such boxes by the end of the year, according to Mr. Courtoy.
“We are focussing mostly on hotels and hospitals for now, but ultimately the “Taxi Butler” will be found in more and more cafes and restaurants, not just in Brussels but in other Belgian cities, too,” explains Pierre Steenberghen, General Secretary of the GTL.
No hospitals have yet agreed to have a “Taxi Butler” box, but they are very interested,” revealed the Taxis Verts CEO.
As to whether Taxis Verts is more present within establishments involved in the project, Mr. Courtoy answers: “Innovation is no problem. There is no monopoly here. What matters is innovation.”
The taxi industry has relied on developing new technologies in the past few months, with the introduction of credit card facilities in particular, as well as electronic cards for patrons and mobile apps such as taxi.eu and eCab, with links to 1,000 taxis in Belgium.