A traditional taximeter is an electronic or mechanical device that is fixed inside a taxi to calculate taxi rates based on time, distance, or both. Historically, taxi meters functioned independently from vehicle dispatch. Newer, computerized taxi meters link the meter with the dispatch system.
There are three types of taxi meters:
- Analogue meters: Analogue meters are mechanical and cannot be connected to other technology (computer systems, dispatch). It runs on onboard diagnostics (OBD).
- Smart meters: Smart meters are the industry norm for taxi meters. They are reliable and functional.
- Soft meters: Taxi soft meters are devices that calculate fares based on the distance rates or time rates, or both. Rates are calculated using GPS technology, or a smartphone or tablet with taximeter application software installed.
The Passenger Transportation Board’s (Board) standard rules for taxicab rates details the requirements for the use of meters. Taxi companies are responsible for conducing tests and ensuring that meters meet standards and requirements.
The Board currently allows companies to use soft meters with onboard diagnostics (OBD) or GPS or a combination if they perform to standards. The Soft Taxi Meter Rules specifies the basic requirements, system standards and tolerances, system security requirements, receipt requirements, and “talking meter” requirements.