When Brian Herman, President and Operations Manager of Casino Taxi in Halifax, Nova Scotia, met me in the foyer of his company’s NovaLea Drive customer service and dispatch centre, I was quickly reminded of an old French proverb: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (The more things change, the more they stay the same). You see, the wallpaper on your left as you step into the reception area is a nearly life-size blown-up black and white photograph of Casino Taxi’s original Gottingen Street office taken in 1937 with drivers in suit and tie posing in front of a fleet vehicle in the foreground. Opposite that is a display case which houses taxi artifacts from days gone by. Noisy, dash- mounted mechanical meters. A brimmed and banded taxi driver hat. An old two-way radio. And in my right hand was my smart phone, with the Casino Taxi app loaded as a reminder to ask Brian how well it’s been received. Brian, like his mother and grandfather before him, is in the right business: Haligonians always have somewhere to go.
- Casino Taxi Halifax Phone Number
- Casino Taxi Halifax App Chat
- Casino Taxi Halifax App Subscription
- Casino Taxi Halifax App Online
2,901 likes 104 talking about this 16 were here. Casino Taxi is the leading taxi dispatch in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with approximately 400 self-employed, independently-contracted taxi. We are the leading taxi dispatch provider in Halifax, NS. With approximately 400 self-employed, independantly contracted taxi drivers to service the Halifax area, we are there whenever you need us. Give us a call at 902-429-6666, book online or download our new App!
By David MacDonald
Casino Taxi Halifax Phone Number
There are two numbers people in Halifax immediately associate with Casino Taxi: 429-6666 and 425-6666. But they don’t read them monosyllabically. They sing them in a bouncy metre. Every time. In the 1980s, Casino Taxi made an indelible mark on the fabric of Halifax’s modern culture with a catchy contest-driven jingle featured in a local TV ad that made those seven numbers so much more than digits on a touchtone phone. They became – and remain – lyrics to a kind of local anthem that is not often heard in the era of E-commerce. But there are other numbers people in Nova Scotia’s capital city should start to associate with Casino Taxi.Like the 425 self-employed drivers from 32 countries under Casino Taxi dispatch who made nearly two million trips in 2016. That’s approximately 3.5 million annual passenger interactions. That’s 1.8 million telephone calls handled annually which equates to an average of 3.4 telephone calls handled per minute each and every minute of the year.For a small business, the numbers are staggering.Over Halloween weekend alone, the 30 full-time staff at Casino Taxi’s customer service and dispatch centre collectively processed over 21,000 orders.
“Each year our dispatch system, Mobile Knowledge, automatically processes 124 million messages between our driver’s vehicles and our server.”
“Each year our dispatch system, hosted by Mobile Knowledge, automatically processes 124 million messages between our driver’s vehicles and our server, of which about 20 million are GPS hits coming back from the car, which report each 300 meters travelled, or any time there is an event, like when a driver arrives at a pickup location,” Brian explained to me in hushed tones as we maneuvered our way past the call-takers. “The way we actually dispatch is by sectioning the city into a zone grid. Our mapping system here at the dispatch centre knows these zones by number. If one of the dispatchers were to type in where we are right now at 3558 NovaLea Drive, it would show up as Zone One in the system and show the location on Google Maps. The system then gives the dispatcher a list of drivers and their location in Zone One based on GPS coordinates. After electronically confirming when they enter the zone, drivers are given a queue number and then assigned jobs automatically by the system based on their place on the list. In the event there are no drivers in a zone or no drivers that meet the particular needs of the customer, the computer automatically does a search for the nearest driver in an adjacent zone or pre-set search radius. The system works well and it works fast, assigning trips to vehicles within two to three seconds.”
“The way our system used to work was based on VHF (Very high frequency) line of sight radio communication. We’ve actually almost entirely moved away from this, for many reasons. In the last four years we’ve pushed off to a cellular network through Rogers.”
“The way our system used to work was based on VHF (Very high frequency) line of sight radio communication,” Brian continued as we made our way to the Server Room. “We’ve actually almost entirely moved away from this, for many reasons. In the last four years we’ve pushed off to a cellular network through Rogers. All of our drivers have an Air Stick in their car and all their onboard equipment transmits to the dispatch centre over the cellular network. The business solutions Rogers offers are exceptional.Our rep, Peter Bowers, has really worked to ensure our technology needs are taken care of.”
Peter can be reached at [email protected]
As we walked down the hallway toward his office, I remembered to ask Brian about the app.
“Our booking app is about four years old,” he said as he opened the app on his smart phone and set it on the desk in front of me as we sat down. “It knows your location like other apps through GPS, so wherever you are in the city you just have to hit the Book Now button, enter any notes you feel the driver should have, and hit Confirm Your Order.” As he was explaining the step-by-step, Brian was ordering a cab to the dispatch centre in order to show me how quickly the request showed up on their system on his desktop computer. It was instantaneous. He immediately removed the request from the system, but before he did, I noticed on the monitor that there were several drivers ready in Zone One to take a call. This speaks to a taxi service that finished out the final 90 days of 2016 with a 92% service response time, which means 92% of the time there was only a 10 minute wait between phone call and the passenger getting into the vehicle.
“We’re a regular small business dealing with the day-to-day challenges posed by delivering highly time sensitive, on demand ground transportation every minute of every day.”
“I would love to have the ability to throw back the curtain and show people exactly what happens behind the scenes,” Brian said. “I think if people had an idea of the volumes and understood that the vast majority of trips are text book, it would give them a completely different perspective of the taxi industry.In the end, we’re far from the stereotype portrayed in the movies and on TV, or the heartless and monopolistic “taxi cartel” that is often referred to in media,” he laughed. “We’re a regular small business dealing with the day-to-day challenges posed by delivering highly time sensitive, on demand ground transportation every minute of every day.”
One calling card of the small business that’s around every corner at Casino Taxi is the family feel.
Brian’s wife, Angie, a CPA, CMA, MBA is the Director of Finance and Administration. His sister, Paula George, a CA and CPA, is VP and Controller. Paula’s husband, Jason, is the Fleet and Systems Manager. “We’re the third generation crew, and we’re not just along for the ride.We all have real jobs, and given our complimentary skillsets, make a unique contribution to the success of our business.Well, everyone except me, I just sit here with my feet on the desk,” he laughed.“My mother, Karen Herman, my uncle, Lynn Spicer, and my aunt, Glenda D’Arcy were the second generation owners and managers starting in the late ‘70s. But Casino Taxi has been operating in Halifax since the late 1920s. It was originally owned by a family by the name of Benjamin, I believe. My grandfather, Warren Spicer, bought the company with a partner, Ivan Sprague, in 1958. It was a six vehicle fleet at this time.”
“My grandfather was a fascinating guy,” Brian continued. “He was born in the ‘20s, joined the war effort underage and fought overseas for a number of years. That’s how he met my grandmother, who was also part of the war effort with the Women’s Land Army in Britain. After the war, they came back to Canada and married.My grandfather worked a number of jobs. He worked for CN, he drove for what is now Maritime Bus and, for a short period, drove cab. He decided he liked the cab thing. He figured, ‘Hey, if this is how the taxi industry works, I can do it better.’ He was one of the first to bring radio communication to taxis in Halifax. Before that, taxis would line up at a poll stand. The first car in the lineup would wait for a telephone to ring to get an assignment. And he really grew the fleet this way. He quickly bought several smaller cab outfits and within just a few years they had between 30 and 35 vehicles. In the 1960s, I believe ’66 or ’67, he decided it was time for even more change and bought out his partner and continued to grow the business. He retired in 1978. When he retired, the company was operating somewhere in the ballpark of 175 vehicles, all independently owned. He believed that when the drivers own the cars, they take pride in them.”
Warren was also the brain behind the famous Casino Taxi ads.
“I remember as a kid, I never wanted anyone to know that my family owned Casino Taxi,” Brian laughed. “As soon as they found out, they sang the song at you. I still have vivid memories of being cornered on the Jungle Jim with five or six kids around me singing the song. Everyone who grew up in Halifax – or Nova Scotia, for that matter – during the 1980s and ‘90s knows the song. It’s really amazing what advertising can do, especially back in that era. There were two or three TV stations, a couple of radio stations, so if you could get on CTV, ATV at the time, and CJCH radio, you had the market covered. It really took hold. It’s become part of the Maritime identity somehow, that song. It’s just one of those things. You eat donairs at Pizza Corner, you go to The Dome, you sing the Casino Taxi song, not necessarily in that order.”
Being one of those kids who grew up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s singing the Casino Taxi song at school with friends and in front of the TV or in the car with my family, I had to press Brian for more.
“Essentially what happened is this: Casino Taxi’s old offices were on Gottingen Street and the phone number was 454-5828. The great thing was, it rhymed, ‘Don’t be late, call 4-5, 4-5, 8, 2, 8.’ When we moved to our second generation location, the phone company wasn’t able to easily transfer our old number, so we opted for a change. We went with 429-6666 and needed a marketing strategy quickly. My grandfather came up with the idea of a jingle contest where we’d pick the winning song from a group of contenders and give out a cash prize. It was all done through CTV.”
The ad even came in at number 15 on Huffingtonpost.ca’s 2012 Canadian Jingles: 25 Of The Catchiest Canadian Tunes.
“We have a lot of national reach because Halifax is and always has been a university town, a leader in innovation and commerce, and a home to the military, but the fact is, we’re very regional. We sell our entire product in the local Halifax market, within the confines of the peninsula, really. So when it comes to marketing, we usually stick to local radio. Radio is huge for us. We’ve done some stuff back on TV, but TV is becoming more challenging with PVRs, streaming, and On Demand. But I don’t think you can truly beat the impact of local radio with a service like ours. But I do know it’s important to supplement so that all the markets are targeted. We’re starting to branch out into digital marketing and digital media like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Ads.”
Whether you use the app or dial the number 429-6666, you’re calling on a Halifax institution that represents so many of the values that make Haligonians part of a community first and a city second: Family, diversity, ingenuity, and service.
Casino Taxi Halifax App Chat
Bob’s Taxi is the largest and oldest cab company in Dartmouth. Along with our sister company, Blue Bell Taxi, we have over 185 cars in circulation. Our experienced staff and drivers provide over 500,000 rides annually. We primarily service the areas of Dartmouth and surrounding communities of Cole Harbour and Eastern Passage along with Halifax, Sackville and the County.
Casino Taxi Halifax App Subscription
All our drivers must adhere to Bob’s code of conduct rules and as well complete the municipal vulnerable sector and criminal records check.
Casino Taxi Halifax App Online
The Bob’s Taxi app is the Taxi Booking app for the city of Dartmouth, including services to and from Halifax Regional Municipality, Airport and all surrounding communities.
- Use the app and skip the telephone queue, which is nice during peak hours.
- Type a note for the driver to help them find you.
- See where your taxi is with live tracking.
- Get a notification when your cab is near.
- Set up future rides.
- Save your common locations for quick access.
- Call us straight from the app by tapping 'Call Operator'. Use this for parties larger than 4, or for special needs or requests.