Our company was established on February 1, 1969
After his ideas for improving Vienna’s only taxi radio dispatch center fell on deaf ears, Balduin Norman – a family man, student at the University of Economics and Business, and owner of a taxi firm – founded his own dispatch center in 1969. Officially, our story began with the telephone number 34 05 35. Two rooms inside the Norman family apartment at Edelhofgasse 27 were cleared out and a radio dispatch center with 7 taxis was born.
Innovations introduced at that early stage:
- The vehicle license plate numbers now served as the radio identifiers
- Radio channels were assigned to city districts instead of vehicle numbers
- Drivers could now be notified via radio to improve customer service
- The Taxibon (taxi coupon) was also an idea of Balduin Norman’s
New Phone Number (31 30)
In 1976, we received the new short number 3130.
We asked a former student at the art academy to design a trademark symbol and the blue dot was born.
Billboards, radio ads and phone stickers helped make our taxi dispatch number the most recognized in Vienna. In comparison, the competition had less effective numbers: 62 82 and 43 69.
A New Company Record – 1,100 Taxis
The rapid expansion of the company reached new heights in 1979.
The 1,100 taxis now connected to our dispatch center drove a total distance of approx. four times around the world.
A Patented Innovation: Automatic Dispatching
Balduin Norman had the idea of automating the taxi dispatch process. A patent lawyer helped bring this idea into the right format (on approx. 20 pages) and submitted it to the patent office. In brief, the patent can be described as follows: Telephone numbers and their corresponding addresses were taken from the phone book and saved on a computer. Customers who called for a taxi could then re-dial their own phone number and the computer automatically dispatched a vehicle.
This idea was developed further to create the modernized computer dialing system that we still use now.
Of course, this does not apply to today’s mobile phones.
Introduction of “Free Pick-Ups”
Our company founder used unclear wording in the Viennese taxi fare regulations to his advantage when he introduced “free pick-ups” in February 1983. This meant that 3130 taxis did not turn on the taxi meter until they had picked up the passenger. We were able to maintain this customer-friendly policy for one year, but then the taxi guild introduced new fare regulations that made a radio surcharge mandatory for all called taxis.
- Dispatch computer
- Telephone system
- Automated computer dispatching (own patent!)
We already had several PCs for certain applications, but in 1984 we “computerized” our entire dispatch center and administration. Above all, that meant no more dispatching with a note pad (hurray!). Previously, each booking had to be written on a piece of paper and passed on to the radio dispatcher, and then carefully filed to remain on record for seven years. With the new phone system, we were now able to put our patented automatic dispatching system into practice.
The Introduction of "Airport Taxis"
Once again, it was our company that found a loophole in the official Viennese taxi fares to the benefit of passengers. A flat rate could be charged for destinations outside the boundaries governed by the fare regulations, and that is how Vienna airport taxis came into being.
"At 3130, we will take you to the Vienna airport and back at a flat rate!"
A large ad campaign (one of the posters even won a design award) helped make airport taxis a fixture in our offering.
Mandatory Number Change: From 3130 to 31300
Almost overnight and without warning, the postal service changed our well-known 3130 number to 31300. The real tragedy was that customers who called the old number got only a busy signal after five seconds.
One can imagine how fast our company had to respond! We used a targeted ad campaign to quickly establish the new number and, in the end, the damage done remained minor. Soon, we were able to continue the success that we had grown accustomed to.
The Founder Steps Down
After 22 years of successfully guiding the company, Balduin Norman was forced to retire due to health reasons. An employee from the company ranks was appointed as the new managing director, but Balduin Norman continued to provide his vast know-how as a consultant for important decisions.
Converting Radio Operations from Voice to Data
To keep up with advances in technology, and to continue offering callers the utmost in modern comfort, we decided to convert our radio dispatch operations from voice to data. After a thorough analysis of the available systems, we chose a trusted solution provided by FMS-Datenfunk GmbH. We transmitted both voice and data information for an entire year until sending our final voice transmission on April 1, 1994, with a crew from the Radio Wien radio station on hand for the occasion.
Dispatch Center Renovation and Office Modernization
Once again – for the fourth time now – our dispatch center received a state-of-the-art renovation, including measures to meet the new regulations (evaluation).
A New Managing Director
In July 1998, Nikolaus Norman – who, as the son of the company founder, practically grew up in and with the company – was named a managing director. To prepare for the responsibility of running a modern company, Nikolaus Norman completed the Hernstein Institute’s two-year business management program (comparable to an MBA), including an internship in the USA.
Just before it was about to go through, Nikolaus Norman was able to prevent a hostile merger attempted by a competitor. In December 1999, Norman was named the sole managing director, forcing the remaining management team members to step down. The change instilled hope in many taxi drivers that a more cooperative working relationship would ensue. Together, the new team developed the company’s new mission statement. Motivational training, along with other training measures and seminars, helped transfer the new ideas and ideals into practice.
A New Era
The company’s newfound team spirit is symbolically highlighted with a new logo.
With so many taxi passengers placing value on high quality and comfort, Taxi 31300 launched its business class service in August 2000. Relying primarily on advance booking, this business segment rewards taxi firms who invest in their fleet, while offering passengers improved service at the same price.
With the know-how of our new radio systems manager on board, we improved our service to taxi firms by establishing our own radio workshop.
To cut costs, the company ended its participation in several quite expensive ventures: a taxi dispatch center in Salzburg, a credit card payment operation and the airport desk.
With technology becoming outdated so rapidly in our modern times, the “technical backbone” of our dispatch center – and, for the first time, all other departments at Taxi 31300 – received a complete makeover, thus ensuring that we could continue to provide fast and technologically advanced service to our customers in the future.
For technology freaks: some 4,500 meters of CAT7 network cables were laid, the distributed systems (computers, radio equipment, UPS, splitters, modems, firewall, etc.) were consolidated in a protected and air-conditioned space, a new dispatch server was installed, and all conventional monitors were replaced with modern TFT displays.
Radio Technology: We installed the latest generation base stations, for only these offer state-of-the-art functionality like text messaging and pinpointing vehicle locations via GPS.
The Hard Work Pays Dividends
The new style of doing business is now firmly entrenched in all departments. The feedback from taxi firms, drivers and passengers has been very positive, especially in terms of the overall commitment and friendliness of our employees.
Research and Development
Together with the transport technology division of the Austrian research center Arsenal Research, we submitted a concept called FLEET – a state-supported research project on the use of the European GALILEO satellite system.
Due to the excellent research cooperation the previous year, additional projects are planned and prepared for submission.
In June 2004, a transportation exhibition opened in Eisenstadt. Here, the general public was introduced to our first successfully completed research project. The exhibition later toured through all of Austria.
Today, Taxi 31300 is a recognized leader among taxi dispatchers. Our key strength lies in providing individualized service and going out of our way to meet customer needs. Most importantly, our customers can depend on the 31300 service advantage wherever they are.