How Did We Used To Do It?

Jim Luff
Posted on March 17, 2009
When I think about to our humble beginnings, life seemed so much simpler but yet much more labor intensive. I recently had a visitor in my office who overheard a conversation and observed the actions of my staff as we reacted to a situation.
I was asked to find out why traffic was not moving near a major Los Angeles interchange near the Los Angeles World Cruise port. The dispatcher was busy and asked for help and information to make some decisions.
I quickly pulled up the California Highway Patrol Traffic Information System. I learned of an accident in the area. I was able to obtain information about the exact location, number of cars, status of the tow trucks, fire department, and even what lanes were blocked. From there, I quickly switched to the CalTrans website to get freeway speeds of nearby freeways and even view cameras to determine the flow of traffic. 
We then zoomed into the limo’s GPS system to see exactly where our chauffeur was and began giving him instructions to exit and connect to another freeway using surface streets. Using this technology, we saved our client additional charges for overtime and used technology resources to save the day.
My guest was amazed that within five minutes from the chauffeur calling for information we were able to get it, analyze it, and take corrective measures. I then showed him all of our vehicles on the computer screen showing data such as direction of travel, speed of travel, when the ignition was turned on, and the highest speed achieved. I showed him our reservations and dispatch screen and explained that as soon as the ride comes to an end, the final invoice is computed and e-mailed immediately along with a hard copy being placed in the mail at the same time.
All this technology was not present when we began taking reservations in a book that was meant to be a diary. We would write all the information of a reservation in the diary. Next we would hand write a Trip Sheet to give to the chauffeur. It would be turned in the next day. Payroll was done manually. There was no two-way radio. There was no Drive-Cam system to document accidents and vehicle abuse. There was no GPS system. We had a handful of cell phones but we did not want chauffeurs to use them unless it was an emergency as every call was about $2 a minute.
I certainly like 2009 better than 1990! I'd like for you to share with me your humble beginnings of taking reservations and communicating the details with your chauffeurs.

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