What do you consider to be the benefits of having taxi management schemes at airports?

Frank van der Sant: The taxi management system we introduced in October for Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg in Schönefeld provides the airport with a technically mature, client-oriented solution for taxi management. Our system enables the airport operator to control who picks up passengers at the airport – only officially certified taxi drivers are allowed. This degree of control is vital for security reasons. Taxi drivers, as well as passengers, benefit from the arrangement.

Specifically, what are the advantages for taxi drivers?

The system offers taxi drivers a whole range of advantages. Drivers can be sure that rides are allocated more fairly. They also have the opportunity to spend their waiting time more comfortably. Leaving for a short time, for example, to refuel or clean their vehicles is a possibility without losing their position in the queue. We’ve ensured that the waiting area is attractive for drivers with a rest and refreshment area.

Drivers will, however, need to register. If they are not registered, they can’t pick up passengers at the airport. Initially, we encountered scepticism from taxi drivers concerning the scheme, but this quickly changed when they saw the system in operation. That’s when they recognised the benefits, and now they support the change. Plus, the new system doesn’t add to their costs. Any additional costs can be passed on to their passengers.

How do passengers benefit from the system?

The system ensures that there are always enough taxis available. The number of taxis allowed into the pick-up area is strictly controlled, which prevents chaotic conditions in front of the airport. The most important thing for passengers is that we make sure that they get the best taxis possible. For example, passengers can request a large-capacity taxi or one that accepts credit cards.

As the operator of the taxi management system, we are able to ensure that the best taxi is readily available for passengers’ needs.

As the system at Schönefeld is relatively new, how do you expect acceptance of it to develop?

We have already had very positive experiences at other locations that have benefitted from our taxi management system over longer time periods. In Scandinavia, for example, developments are already far more advanced. We introduced our system at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm as far back as 2009. We already know that it works in the long-term and, above all, we know the environmental potential of the system.

Can you tell us a bit more about the system’s environmental potential?

It is important to remember that in addition to the airport operator, passengers and taxi drivers, the environment also benefits from our taxi management system. Taxis no longer wait in a line outside the airport with their engines running; they have a special, designated area in which to wait for their next fare. This reduces CO2 emissions, but we have also demonstrated that the system can do so much more.

We introduced a reward system at Arlanda to promote environmentally friendly behaviour. For example, we promote the use of electric vehicles by rewarding them with better waiting positions. After we introduced our taxi management system at Arlanda, the proportion of environmentally friendly taxis rose from 16% in 2009 to 84% in 2014. This has lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of approximately 16,000 tons on journeys made by taxis to and from Arlanda Airport in 2016.

Another advantage of our system is the ability to manage waiting periods. One of the biggest headaches for a driver – the short trip fare – is, therefore, cured. After a long wait, drivers prefer a long fare into town, but, of course, there are customers who only need to go to the airport hotel around the corner. Our system allows taxi drivers returning from a short trip to register again within a defined time in the waiting area. That puts the driver in a favourable position, cutting out long waits for the next ride.