Black cab drivers across London face many challenges, not only from stringent and changing legislation, but also from competitors such as Uber and Addison Lee. Traditional cabbies are fighting back though, with an action plan to guarantee a faster, smarter and greener future for London’s black cabs. Details include zero emission capable cabs by 2018, and adoption of new technologies such as fast Wi-Fi and electronic card payment with contactless support.
In fact, electronic payment ability has become mandatory since February 2016, when TfL announced that all licenced taxi drivers must offer passengers the option of paying their fare electronically at the point of sale.
Verifone has long been providing a valuable resource into this area; they are global market leaders in ePOS, offering over 25 years’ experience with taxi fleets. Their fully TfL compliant card payment solution accepts payment from all major Chip & PIN, swipe and contactless credit and debit cards, and can accept electronic payment via ApplePay and NFC enabled android devices.
Verifone’s provision of card payment technology to taxi fleets meant that they had to respond rapidly when TfL introduced their new legislation last year. They needed to fulfil an urgent request to equip nearly a quarter of London’s black cabs with not only ePOS card payment units, but also Fare Taximeters and taxi advertising systems that deliver a customer information channel on a 15” digital screen within the passenger compartment.
Their success in meeting the project’s tight deadlines was due in part to support from their trusted cable and connector supplier, GCT. GCT designed a set of cable assemblies that, while being customised for connector arrangements and environmental resilience, were produced in the required production volumes within critical deadlines.
GCT’s supply comprised four cable assembly types, using various custom combinations of Micro USB, USB, DSUB and Jack connectors. One example splits a USB A output into a Micro USB B male and a Micro USB B female connector; in another, the split is from mini HDMI to a DC Jack and DSUB 9 Pin connector.
The assemblies were customised for their environment as well as their connector combinations. The HDMI/DCJack/DSUB cable has a copper foil shield over its inner mould on the connectors to eliminate electrical noise interference and reduce signal attenuation. This also helps compliance with ATC and RoHS certifications. Additionally, the cables have a braid and PVC jacket to allow an extended flex cycle life – an important consideration as shock and vibration are ever-present parts of taxi vehicle operation.
As the cables were more complex than previously required, while being on a very tight delivery, GCT had to make special arrangements to meet Verifone’s requirements. After a prompt, early visit to Verifone’s premises to ensure a detailed understanding of the project, GCT set up a manufacturing plan that included extensive factory overtime. 100 per cent quality checking and testing was performed, including extra technical and quality checks for the higher-complexity HDMI/DCJack/DSUB cable. Additionally, goods were delivered in batches to avoid any production line stop at Verifone.
“Success in this assignment depended in close co-operation between both companies,” comments Eren Ozkan, UK project manager at GCT. “Our task was made far easier, and turnaround was greatly facilitated, by the responsive support from Verifone’s engineers at all times throughout the project.”
Mike Wakefield, inventory manager at Verifone was also pleased with the project’s results. He says: “We originally approached GCT with this requirement because of our previous experience in working with them. Although these assemblies were more complex and on much shorter lead times than previous years’ deliveries, GCT’s production allowed us to meet our commitment to our customers. Although the project occasionally presented some technical challenges, we overcame these together in a timely manner.”