NEW YORK – The Executive Transportation Group (ETG), which operates more than 1,500 black car vehicles in the New York metropolitan area, has completed the first phase of a program to equip its drivers with high-tech Blackberry personal digital assistants (PDAs) that offer two-way radio service, wireless phone service, e-mail access and complete dispatching capabilities through one convenient hand-held device. Through its 17 divisions, ETG provides transportation for between 6,000 and 7,000 clients per day.
Using Aleph Computer’s software platform, drivers of the Brooklyn-based company can accept rides, enter billing data directly into ETG’s back-office system and access pricing information. They can also provide credit-card authorizations on the spot with card swipes and printers from Infinite Peripherals. In the coming months, GPS navigation will be available through the units to help drivers reach unfamiliar destinations in a more efficient manner.
“Our Blueline division was the first executive sedan service in New York City to use Blackberrys for dispatching purposes,” said Rich Palma, managing director of business development for ETG. “Between our Blueline and Newport divisions, we now have more than 300 devices online — with an additional 250 expected to be up and running by September.”
Previously, data was transmitted to drivers through units that were permanently mounted in their vehicles. The new units give drivers the flexibility to leave their vehicles and still receive important client updates, said Palma.
“This is particularly important for airport pickups,” he said. “Drivers can now get their messages while they are in the terminal, which eliminates a lot of confusion.”