The introduction of the Boordcomputer Taxi (BCT), a complicated all singing and dancing digital taxi computer in The Netherlands has claimed its third victim: on Monday, February 2nd, the owners of Taxitronic BV, the Doodkorte family, filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy included two sister companies, Neone and roof light supplier Barclays. A trustee is examining whether a restart is possible. By telephone Taxitronic informed its customers that the company’s BCT (On-board Taxi Computer) and data terminals will continue to function and that the service department will remain accessible.
In the lengthy BCT-process three of the four original certified BCT suppliers have now gone bust. April last year Taxamatic, run by taxi entrepreneur Albert Haars, hit the buffers and not much later Quipment hastily made a restart. Euphoria/Cabman is the only BCT-suppler which is still standing.
The news hit the Dutch industry hard: Taxitronic –no longer affiliated to the Spanish supplier Interfacom/Taxitronic- was considered one of the better suppliers early in the BCT process and clearly had its act together when it developed and built the BCT One with IT-specialist Chess in Haarlem. In a statement the Taxitronic owners blame the various government decisions leading to further delays and the financial problems faced by many taxi companies in The Netherlands as a result of austerity measures by the public authorities. Like many suppliers in the taxi industry Taxitronic suffered from customers’ payment problems.
Late last year taxi association KNV Taxi announced that the taxi industry could no longer bear additional costs. This applies both to the operators themselves and the BCT-suppliers. According to KNV Taxi “the government should use the remaining millions of the subsidy scheme for the taxi sector. There have been a lot more costs to the BCT-process than anticipated and that is partly because of the old-fashioned system update in workshops except of electronically. For some unknown reason the government put this in the BCT regulations on the industry.”
KNV Taxi Secretary Hubert Andela states that his organization has been putting pressure on the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M). “In a letter to the Secretary of State and in other contacts with I & M we said that the industry was at the end of its financial scope and that the remainder of the subsidy fund -about 2,4 to 3.2 million euro is badly needed to compensate the taxi trade for the financial problems caused by the BCT-introduction.”
The BCT story in The Netherlands, is yet another textbook case of mismanagement of an IT-project. The fact that the devices can not be read and checked by the taxi-inspectorate for months to come, is another blow to the system which was created to create a level playing field between all taxi companies. Again, the BCT-producers have to invest again to redevelop the software, written according to earlier government specifications. The taxi companies, who have been forced to install the devices with continually changing deadlines and are threatened with draconian fines, are the main victims of the government’s mishandling of the BCT-introduction.
- Three-quarters of all BCT-suppliers crashed before the finish line – except Euphoria/Cabman.