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Taxi Meters

On 23rd March 1907 seventeen motor driven cabs left the General Motor Cab Company Garage. These first "motor taxis" were fitted with a "taximeter" – a clockwork device linked to the wheels which showed the distance travelled and the fare – hence the term "taxi-cabs" and the word "Taxi" used all over the world.

The common taxi meter as found in many taxis and private hire vehicles has in the past 30 to 40 years been transformed from a clockwork mechanical machine to an on board computer.

Taxi Meters are a must for the taxi driver if he wants to charge for his time and running costs / profit consistently. There are two parts to the computation of the fare, the tariff and the calibration of the meter to the measured mile.

The meter uses distance pulses from the vehicle, which comes from a transducer (a unit that converts movement to electrical pulses) which is connected to the drive mechanism.

When a meter is first fitted to a vehicle, it has to know how many pulses it will receive from the vehicle for either a mile, if the tariff is worked out in miles, or a kilometer if the tariff is worked out in metric. The meter is then 'Calibrated' over this fixed distance. This figure will be used throughout the life of the vehicle and will only need changing if the size of the wheels is changed. If the transducer used is on the gearbox, changing the gearbox ratio or differential may also change the figure. The other part of the equation is the Tariff which is a software and data packet which has normally been produced by the meters manufacturers' computer program.

The meter uses the drivers button pressing, the calibration figure and the tariff information to make a real time calculation of the fare. In addition, if the meter is running a calendar tariff, it will also use its on board real time clock and a look up tariff table for the fare calculations.