Saty Bhat - stock.adobe.com
Transport for London (TfL) has appointed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to overhaul the administration of taxi and private hire vehicles in London.
The deal will see the Indian services giant digitally transform an operation that supports 115,000 taxi and private hire vehicles through its DigiGov framework.
TCS will design, implement and operate a new smart mobility system for the next 10 years. It will include an on-demand data and records management system that will enhance user experience by offering services such as licensing payments and refunds to vehicle operators and owners through digital channels. Workflows will be streamlined and will link the user-friendly interfaces with back-end processes.
TfL hopes the increased use of digital technologies will encourage more self-service among taxi and hire car licensees. Data will be hosted on AWS cloud, so it can support further growth and reduce outages.
TCS will conduct in-depth training as part of the onboarding process.
Graham Robinson, general manager of taxi and private hire at TfL, said the deal will improve the operation and enable the organisation to keep pace with digital developments.
“An efficient and effective licensing system is paramount for any regulator overseeing taxi and private hire operations in a world city,” he said. “We are pleased to have signed this contract with TCS, as it ensures our business keeps pace with technological developments and gives the best possible service to licensees.”
Amit Kapur, head of TCS in the UK, said part of the agreement is to ensure that TfL can adapt to changes in its business, such as the registrations of connected, shared, electric and autonomous vehicles.
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“TfL is the foremost transportation authority in the world, with its innovative approach to managing urban transportation with the use of technology and data,” said Kapur. “The new TCS-designed technology system will meet TfL’s key objectives, enhance customer experience and enable future requirements.”
TCS is the biggest IT service provider in India and one of the biggest in the world, boasting many of the globe’s biggest businesses as customers. It was building its UK public sector with growing revenues until the Covid-19 pandemic stalled customer spending.
According to Tussell, which analyses government spending data, in 2017, TCS made £30.9m sales to the UK public sector, and this increased to £52m by 2019, before the pandemic slowed things. There is huge potential for growth in the UK public sector for TCS and other Indian services firms, where their market share is a fraction of that in the private sector.
TfL is in the process of modernising its business. For example, it recently selected two startups from its 2019 RoadLab innovation challenge to provide smart technology to support the city’s road network.
Artificial intelligence (AI) software from Samdesk will use anonymised social media data to detect incidents on the road network and simulation technology from Immense will provide models of roadworks to help gain an understanding of their impact on London’s road network.
Samdesk’s AI technology uses real-time anonymised social media data to detect emerging disruptions, which TfL said would give staff a more comprehensive insight into incidents unfolding across the transport network.