Lucrative: Cabbie Dupierre Simons keeps a daily log of how much he earns and what he spent on gas. It proves GPS brings in more cash, he says. *Photo by Amanda Dale
Lucrative: Cabbie Dupierre Simons keeps a daily log of how much he earns and what he spent on gas. It proves GPS brings in more cash, he says. *Photo by Amanda Dale

Dupierre Simons, 69, has been driving a taxi for the past 12 years. He is also an owner/operator, whose permit has been in his family for the past 60 years. 

Mr Simons acquired the taxi permit from his father and he also intends to pass it on to his own children.

He told the Bermuda Sun why he likes GPS and the benefits it can bring to cabbies.



L
ike many cabbies, Dupierre Simons was against the introduction of mandatory GPS systems under the former PLP government.

But he has since embraced the new technology and says returning to voice dispatch would be like “going back to the Stone Age”.

Mr Simons is one of 400 taxi owners who operate a GPS system with BTA (Dispatching) Ltd.

He says his Vector 9000 ‘Navigator Deluxe’ has not only brought him more income, but his customers are also happier.

“Customers love GPS, or DDS (digital dispatch system) as we call it,” he said. “They know when their car is going to arrive, and they don’t have their phone numbers broadcast all over the island. It’s more private. With DDS, you only know the name of the client once you accept the job, and only you and the company know it. Customers also say it’s faster and more reliable.  Plus, they don’t have to put up with all that background noise from the radio.” 

Mr Simons said: “I fought against GPS at first because I didn’t understand it or the technology that I felt was being forced on me.

“That was seven years ago, and now I’m really happy with it, because only the driver who accepts the job knows where the job is.

“Once I arrive at my destination, I hit the ‘arrive’ and ‘caller’ buttons and the system automatically phones the client to tell them ‘Car … (taxi number) is outside’. So you don’t have to waste money on phone calls.” He also saves money on gas: “It’s faster and you are closer to the jobs,” he said.  Once he is close to finishing a fare, he can hit the STC button — ‘soon to clear’. The system then alerts him to other jobs nearby and he can ‘accept’ and go straight to his next job, without wasting time and gas driving around looking for work.

“It is a marvellous thing,” he said.

Mr Simons said that just as in days gone by, cabbies were against the introduction of voice radio, now they were objecting to new technology again: “Again they are saying, ‘This system does not work’,” he said. “But to me, two-way radio is obsolete.

“I don’t know if a lot of drivers are just scared of technology or if they can’t read, so that when the data comes on-screen they are shy of it. But once they see the benefits, a lot of drivers don’t want to go back. You don’t have to type anything as everything is done by touch screen. The system also helps you to navigate to a job, by map and voice navigation.  You’re closer to the jobs. It keeps me rolling, and rolling wheels is money wheels.”