Abu Dhabi Taxis in the capital will soon sport ‘smart' electronic signs on their roofs which will help commuters easily determine whether they are available for hire.

TransAD (The Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars in Abu Dhabi), the authority regulating taxis in the emirate, will test 30 roof signs on taxis soon, according to a press release.

It is part of the authority's strategic initiative to modernise taxi services.

The new smart electronic roof sign has been designed with many features such as multiple fixed messages which are automatically triggered by the taxi meter or in-car computer or external optical inputs.

It will display words such as ‘taxi' and ‘vacant' in green, or ‘hired', ‘on call' and ‘busy' in red — in both English and Arabic with the option to automatically switch between the two languages.

Colour coding

The new system offers the option of sending live messages from the dispatch centre to the taxi roof sign to display holiday greetings, booking number, and information in different languages.

It also has automatic brightness adjustment for day and night.

The features of the new system will enable potential passengers to identify if taxis are occupied from a distance.

The availability of taxis can be gauged by an easily understood colour scheme of red, green and yellow.

TransAD will test the new model by integrating it with the existing meter system (Mobile Data Terminal, or MDT) during the test phase.

The smart electronic roof signs for the pilot project will be introduced in Abu Dhabi by September.

TransAD is trying to ensure that the product performance during its pilot phase is adequate before going live given local weather conditions and other atmospheric elements.

On successful completion of this pilot project the electronic roof signs will be installed on all taxis in the emirate.

Top manufacturer tasked

TransAD has signed a memorandum of understanding for a pilot project for the installation of the smart electronic roof light sign with one of the leading taxi roof sign manufacturers in Europe, which has supplied more than 100,000 taxi roof signs of different models across Europe.

Quick and easy option for customers

  • TransAD earlier this year launched the automated reservation system for more than 7,000 silver taxis in the emirate.
  • Advanced functions of the new system help save time for customers by managing the large volume of calls without any interaction with agents.
  • The system stores addresses of customers (pick-up points include home, office and last-booked location) and allows users to automatically know the status of their reservation or enable change of their details.
  • Taxi reservations can be made by calling 600-53 53 53. The system employs global positioning system (GPS) to locate the taxi nearest to the caller's address and send the person who made the request an SMS with information about the dispatched taxi and driver.