Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Makes A Good Dispatcher?

There are many qualities that make a dispatcher "good".

From the drivers perspective a "Good Dispatcher" means one that gives him or her the best runs.
From the companies perspective a "Good Dispatcher" means one that uses the companies resources most efficiently.

What makes a Dispatcher "Bad"?


Some drivers seem to get all the "gravy" runs, nothing generates resentment more than favoritism.

Resentment can make or break the Esprit De Corps of a delivery organization.

I've delivered  a wide range of products, both CDL truck deliveries (including Tractor Trailer runs) and delivered pizza, run an airport shuttle and ferried senior citizens to and from an Old Folks Home. Most OTR (over the road) tractor trailer drivers get paid by the mile... frequently they do not earn a dime for unloading.

Favoritism here involves the dispatcher giving out the better paying runs to those drivers who broke the hours of service laws, ran too many hours and/ or fudged their books to get around the "Hours of Service" limitations placed on truck drivers.

The rookie drivers got "shafted" by getting a disproportionate number of runs where they had to sit on a loading dock for hours not earning a dime.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dispatcher Kick Backs

Dirty Secret in some transportation industries

Unless upper management keeps a sharp eye out for this... drivers in some industries can successfully bribe dispatchers into giving them "gravy".

It's a dirty little secret, a dispatcher can "feed" good runs to certain drivers (and get paid behind the companies back)

Cab drivers and taxi dispatchers.
Some, not all, but some cab drivers are from the bottom of the gene pool. They can be, not all of them of course, but they *can* be an unsavory bunch. A cab driver knows all the prostitutes in a given town/ municipality. I'm not going to claim to know why this is or pass judgement, it just "is what it is".

Local working girls seldom have to pay (in cash anyway) for a ride.
"Johns" or the ladies of the night's customers, often ask a cab driver where they can find X, Y or Z.

Being this close to the seedy side of life can lead to... well, there seems to be some correlation between unsavory behavior and paying the dispatcher for better runs.

it happens.
If management isn't paying attention, it can happen a LOT.

something to think about if you manage dispatchers or if your job depends on providing better service in this economy.

Good service means you all get to keep your jobs
Bad service means many of you will soon be getting in the unemployment line

... it is what it is

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Why Are Taxi Dispatchers Often Rude?

Taxicab Dispatchers, Are They Rude?

Call for a cab, a dispatcher answers the phone. When do you need a cab?

When you can't drive, for what ever reason:
  • car broke down
  • you got a DWI or your licence is suspended for something
  • you can't take the bus (public transportation often runs a limited schedule on holidays or "off peak" hours),
  • you don't want to walk (it's either too hot or too cold or raining.... or snowing)

Well the same things are going through the minds of everyone else who is in your non driving situation: you all call a cab at the same time.

Cab companies all have "regular customers", then... it rains, and everyone wants a cab, all at the same time. And all of you are asking the dispatcher this question:
and he or she can not answer it

How long till my cab gets here?

You aren't the only one calling, everyone is asking the same thing, all of you are calling for the same thing, There is TRAFFIC...

The dispatcher can not tell you something they don't know, hell, the driver doesn't really know, he can not see how much traffic is around the next bend.

Night Time Dispatchers

Who gets the graveyard shift at a cab company?
A driver, a driver who is moonlighting, he's doing double duty. He's probably tired, he's probably getting paid a fraction of what he can make behind the wheel. The prime time dispatchers are often "first string", the night time dispatchers are often "second string".

Someone get's stuck with the graveyard shift
As described above, all of you are needing a ride, usually at the same time. All of the dispatchers are swamped with calls, the drivers are swamped with runs, and all of you want what you want, when you want it (and all of you are as impatient as the cab company is)

So... after fielding a dozen or more rude calls from you taxi customers, the dispatcher is getting a bit frustrated with telling all of you what you don't want to hear... so they say something "generic" like: "20 minutes"

it's a lie
it's a stab in the dark
he has no idea how long it's really going to take
... but the truth is NOT what you want to hear

So what do you do?

You call a second cab company.
You figure who ever shows up first gets the job

The dispatcher is now frustrated even more because he diverted his already scant resources away from a paying customer to show up at your location... and you took a cab from another cab company.

The night time dispatchers "recognize your voice", they "know" you were the one who sent them on a wild goose chase...

so, wonder why some of them are rude?

What's a cab company to do? Hire a professional dispatcher for both day shift AND night shift.

If you're needing a ride to BWI from Frederick County Maryland call Gordon Seaven at 240 626-1147
To BWI From Frederick Maryland

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ex Drivers Become Dispatchers

The Best Dispatchers are Usually Ex Drivers.

Who better to know what to tell a driver than someone who's been one themselves?

This post is from description of what a dispatcher job entails, below the article is a list of Current Dispatcher Job Openings in or near Frederick Maryland:


Significant Points:

  • Population growth and economic expansion are expected to spur employment growth for all types of dispatchers.
  • Many dispatchers are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma.
  • Although there are no mandatory licensing or certification requirements, some States require public safety dispatchers to be certified.
Nature of the Work

Dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, equipment, or service vehicles to carry materials or passengers. They keep records, logs, and schedules of the calls that they receive, the transportation vehicles that they monitor and control, and the actions that they take. They maintain information on each call and then prepare a detailed report on all activities occurring during their shifts. Many dispatchers employ computer-aided dispatch systems to accomplish these tasks. The work of dispatchers varies greatly, depending on the industry in which they work.

Regardless of where they work, all dispatchers are assigned a specific territory and have responsibility for all communications within that area. Many work in teams, especially dispatchers in large communications centers or companies. One person usually handles all dispatching calls to the response units or company drivers, while the other members of the team usually receive the incoming calls and deal with the public.

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, also called public safety dispatchers, monitor the location of emergency services personnel from any one or all of the jurisdiction�s emergency services departments. These workers dispatch the appropriate type and number of units in response to calls for assistance. Dispatchers, or call takers, often are the first people the public contacts when emergency assistance is required. If certified for emergency medical services, the dispatcher may provide medical instruction to those on the scene of the emergency until the medical staff arrives.

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers work in a variety of settings: A police station, a fire station, a hospital, or, increasingly, a centralized communications center. In many areas, the police department serves as the communications center. In these situations, all emergency calls go to the police department, where a dispatcher handles the police calls and screens the others before transferring them to the appropriate service.

When handling calls, dispatchers question each caller carefully to determine the type, seriousness, and location of the emergency. The information obtained is posted either electronically by computer or, with decreasing frequency, by hand. The request for help is communicated immediately to uniformed or supervisory personnel, who quickly decide on the priority of the incident, the kind and number of units needed, and the location of the closest and most suitable units available. Typically, a team answers calls and relays the information to be dispatched. Responsibility then shifts to the dispatchers, who send response units to the scene and monitor the activity of the public safety personnel answering the dispatched message. During the course of the shift, dispatchers may rotate these functions.

When appropriate, dispatchers stay in close contact with other service providers—for example, a police dispatcher would monitor the response of the fire department when there is a major fire. In a medical emergency, dispatchers keep in close touch not only with the dispatched units, but also with the caller. They may give extensive first-aid instructions before the emergency personnel arrive, while the caller is waiting for the ambulance. Dispatchers continuously give updates on the patient�s condition to the ambulance personnel and often serve as a link between the medical staff in a hospital and the emergency medical technicians in the ambulance. (A separate statement on emergency medical technicians and paramedics appears elsewhere.)

Other dispatchers coordinate deliveries, service calls, and related activities for a variety of firms.Truck dispatchers, who work for local and long-distance trucking companies, coordinate the movement of trucks and freight between cities. These dispatchers direct the pickup and delivery activities of drivers, receive customers� requests for the pickup and delivery of freight, consolidate freight orders into truckloads for specific destinations, assign drivers and trucks, and draw up routes and pickup and delivery schedules. Bus dispatchers make sure that local and long-distance buses stay on schedule. They handle all problems that may disrupt service, and they dispatch other buses or arrange for repairs in order to restore service and schedules. Train dispatchers ensure the timely and efficient movement of trains according to orders and schedules. They must be aware of track switch positions, track maintenance areas, and the location of other trains running on the track. Taxicab dispatchers, or starters, dispatch taxis in response to requests for service and keep logs on all road service calls. Tow-truck dispatchers take calls for emergency road service. They relay the nature of the problem to a nearby service station or a tow-truck service and see to it that the road service is completed. Gas and water service dispatchers monitor gaslines and water mains and send out service trucks and crews to take care of emergencies.

Working Conditions

The work of dispatchers can be very hectic when many calls come in at the same time. The job of public safety dispatcher is particularly stressful because a slow or an improper response to a call can result in serious injury or further harm. Also, callers who are anxious or afraid may become excited and be unable to provide needed information; some may even become abusive. Despite provocations, dispatchers must remain calm, objective, and in control of the situation.

Dispatchers sit for long periods, using telephones, computers, and two-way radios. Much of their time is spent at video display terminals, viewing monitors and observing traffic patterns. As a result of working for long stretches with computers and other electronic equipment, dispatchers can experience significant eyestrain and back discomfort. Generally, dispatchers work a 40-hour week; however, rotating shifts and compressed work schedules are common. Alternative work schedules are necessary to accommodate evening, weekend, and holiday work, as well as 24-hour-per-day, 7-day-per-week operations.

Training, Other Qualifications,
and Advancement

Many dispatchers are at the entry level and do not require more than a high school diploma. Employers, however, prefer to hire people familiar with computers and other electronic office and business equipment. Typing, filing, recordkeeping, and other clerical skills also are important.

State or local government civil service regulations usually govern police, fire, emergency medical, and ambulance dispatching jobs. Candidates for these positions may have to pass written, oral, and performance tests. Also, they may be asked to attend training classes and attain the proper certification in order to qualify for advancement.

Workers usually develop the necessary skills on the job. This informal training lasts from several days to a few months, depending on the complexity of the job. Public safety dispatchers usually require the most extensive training. While working with an experienced dispatcher, new employees monitor calls and learn how to operate a variety of communications equipment, including telephones, radios, and various wireless devices. As trainees gain confidence, they begin to handle calls themselves. In smaller operations, dispatchers sometimes act as customer service representatives, processing orders. Many public safety dispatchers also participate in structured training programs sponsored by their employer. Increasingly, public safety dispatchers receive training in stress and crisis management as well as family counseling. This training helps them to provide effective services to others; and, at the same time, it helps them manage the stress involved in their work.

Communication skills and the ability to work under pressure are important personal qualities for dispatchers. Residency in the city or county of employment frequently is required for public safety dispatchers. Dispatchers in transportation industries must be able to deal with sudden influxes of shipments and disruptions of shipping schedules caused by bad weather, road construction, or accidents.

Although there are no mandatory licensing or certification requirements, some States require that public safety dispatchers possess a certificate to work on a State network, such as the Police Information Network. Many dispatchers participate in these programs in order to improve their prospects for career advancement.

Dispatchers who work for private firms, which usually are small, will find few opportunities for advancement. In contrast, public safety dispatchers may become a shift or divisional supervisor or chief of communications, or they may move to higher paying administrative jobs. Some become police officers or firefighters.


Dispatchers held 266,000 jobs in 2004. About 36 percent were police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, almost all of whom worked for State and local governments—primarily local police and fire departments. About 26 percent of all dispatchers worked in the transportation and warehousing industry, and the rest worked in a wide variety of mainly service-providing industries.

Although dispatching jobs are found throughout the country, most dispatchers work in urban areas, where large communications centers and businesses are located.

Job Outlook

Employment of dispatchers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. In addition to those positions resulting from job growth, many openings will arise from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.

Population growth and economic expansion are expected to spur employment growth for all types of dispatchers. The growing and aging population will increase demand for emergency services and stimulate employment growth of police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers. Many districts are consolidating their communications centers into a shared area-wide facility. Individuals with computer skills and experience will have a greater opportunity for employment as public safety dispatchers.

Employment of some dispatchers is more adversely affected by economic downturns than employment of other dispatchers. For example, when economic activity falls, demand for transportation services declines. As a result, taxicab, train, and truck dispatchers may experience layoffs or a shortened workweek, and jobseekers may have some difficulty finding entry-level jobs. Employment of tow-truck dispatchers, by contrast, is seldom affected by general economic conditions, because of the emergency nature of their business.


Median annual earnings of dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance in May 2004 were $30,920. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,480 and $41,040. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,440.

Median annual earnings of police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers in 2004 were $28,930. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,060 and $35,970. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $44520.

Dispatchers usually receive the same benefits as most other workers.

[Please note that the earnings and salary data listed here is usually from government sources and may be dated, so please make adjustments accordingly. If you would like to access current salary data for literally thousands of occupations, access our Salary Wizard.



Loudoun County Government - Leesburg, VA
ORIGINAL JOB LISTING DISPATCHER Recruitment #10... REQUIREMENTS Successfully complete the Basic Dispatcher School and be VCIN/NCIC certified within one...
From - 10 days ago - save job - block - email - more...


Compass Group - Frederick, MD
and is able to determine, explain and develop dispatcher logic and transporter activities; acts as a... experience. Preferred dispatcher, transport or...
From Compass Group - 9 days ago - save job - block - email - more...

Dispatcher/CDL Driver

Not Specified - Gaithersburg, MD
--Description-- DISPATCHER NEEDED... A Dispatcher is on the front-lines; coordinating, directing and... is seeking a full time Dispatcher with a valid CDL...
From CareerBuilder - 19 days ago - save job - block - email - more...

HVAC Dispatcher(heating, air conditioning, refrigeration)090...

HVAC Agent - Gaithersburg, MD
HVAC Agent is currently looking to fill a Dispatcher Position in the Commercial; Industrial; Light Commercial; Residential Sectors. Ideal applicant will have...
From HVAC Agent - 27 days ago - save job - block - email - more...

Transportation Manager

Gaithersburg, MD
policies and procedures. •Directly responsible for the staffing of the driver & dispatcher teams (hiring, re-assigning, and terminating). •Develops and makes...
From Monster - 8 days ago - save job - block - email - more...

Transportation Manager

Confidential - Gaithersburg, MD
policies and procedures. •Directly responsible for the staffing of the driver & dispatcher teams (hiring, re-assigning, and terminating). •Develops and makes...
From CareerBuilder - 7 days ago - save job - block - email - more...

Project Manager

NFI Industries - Frederick, MD
of facilities and subordinate staff including supervisors, coordinators, dispatchers, load planners, administrative assistants and drivers Maximizes fleet...
From CareerBuilder - 27 days ago - save job - block - email - more...

Drivers OTR Secure Teams with Hazmat

The Express Way Group - Hagerstown, MD
driver having a dedicated driver manager. We also have no more than three dispatchers/driver managers in a group without a division manager, making sure that...
From Careers In Gear - 25 days ago - save job - block - email - more...

Become a Railway Operations Crewmember in the US Military - Hagerstown, MD
Adjusting lashing and bracing to assure safe hauling of cargo Advising dispatchers of arrival and departure times for all passing trains Compiling records...
From - 14 days ago - save job - block - email - more...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How Are Taxi Cabs Dispatched?

How Are Taxi Cabs Dispatched?

The activity of taxicab fleets is usually monitored and controlled by a central office, which provides dispatching, accounting, and human resources services to one or more taxi companies. Taxi owners and drivers usually communicate with the dispatch office through either a 2-way radio or a computer terminal, called a mobile data terminal.

Before the innovation of radio dispatch in the 1950s, taxi drivers would use a callbox—a special telephone at a taxi stand—to contact the dispatch office. Taxi fleets aren't the only mode of hired transportation to use two-way communication systems. Luxury sedans and limo services also incorporate these kinds of systems in their vehicles.

When a customer calls for a taxi, a call is dispatched by either radio or computer via an in-vehicle mobile data terminal, to the most suitable cab. The most suitable cab may either be the one closest to the pick-up address. These days, this is often determined by GPS coordinates. It also can be the one that was the first to book in to the "zone" surrounding the pickup address. Cabs are sometimes dispatched from their taxi stands. A call to "Top of the 2" means that the first cab in line at stand #2 is supposed to pick someone up.

In offices using radio dispatch, taxi locations are often tracked using magnetic "pegs" on a "board"—a metal sheet with an engraved map of taxi zones. In computerized dispatch, the status of taxis is tracked by the computer system.

Taxi frequencies are generally licensed in duplex pairs. One frequency is used for the dispatcher to talk to the cabs, and a second frequency is used to the cabs to talk back. This means that the drivers generally cannot talk to each other. Some cabs have a CB radio in addition to the company radio so they can speak to each other.

In the United States, there is a Taxicab Radio Service with pairs assigned for this purpose. A taxi company can also be licensed in the Business Radio Service. Business frequencies in the UHF range are also licensed in pairs to allow for repeaters, though taxi companies usually use the pair for duplex communications.

Some companies don't operate their own radio system and instead subscribe to a Specialized Mobile Radio system. The conventional radios are most suited to companies that operate within the local area and have a high volume of radio traffic. The SMR is more commonly used by luxury sedan services that cover a wider area. It's also used by smaller companies who use less airtime and don't want to run their own radio systems.
Checker Sedan is a premier mode of transportation that Detroit visitors can use to take them back and forth to Detroit Metro Airport when they're visiting Michigan. Checker,, was established in March 2000 and has become the fastest growing chauffeur-driven licensed luxury sedan company in Metropolitan Detroit. Checker Sedan is an affiliate of Soave Enterprises, a privately held management and investment company founded by Detroit businessman Anthony L. Soave. Checker Sedan is the official curbside luxury sedan provider for Detroit Metro Airport.

In Frederick Maryland if you need a taxi to or from BWI airport call City Cab Company of Frederick Maryland

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

End of the year Dispatcher levity

You think your job is hard... just be glad you don't have a boot camp for your job...

Here's an idiot that got sentenced to 3 years for impersonating a 911 dispatcher:
Randal T. Ellis, 19, was sentenced Thursday in Orange County Superior Court after pleading guilty to felonies including false imprisonment by violence and falsely reporting a crime. He also was ordered to pay $14,765 in restitution, nearly all of it to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Ellis was arrested last year after hacking into a telephone network and impersonating a caller from a Lake Forest home, saying he had murdered someone in the house and was threatening to shoot others. The technique in which a prank call is made to 911 dispatchers is known among hackers as "SWATting.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jedi Dispatcher... Use the Force!

What is a dispatcher, exactly

Wikipedia defines "dispatcher" as:
Essentially, the dispatcher is the "conductor" of the force, and is responsible for the direction of all units within it.

Wikipedia goes on to say:
Dispatchers are communications personnel responsible for receiving and transmitting pure and reliable messages, tracking vehicles and equipment, and recording other important information.

So Dispatchers are used to coordinate operations and relay information.

My first experience with a dispatcher was the dispatcher of Steuart Petroleum, back in 1983. I drove a heating oil delivery truck. At the time I thought all a dispatcher was supposed to do was to give me work...

The only three people I was looking out for was me, my self, and I.

The man dispatching Steuart Petroleum, Bethesda Maryland back in those days was Joe.
Joe used to come on the radio with this prefacing line:
"Be Advised...____ fill in the blank__"

From where I sat, in the cab of my oil truck, the only time I considered Joe's job and or what he had to go through, was when he was either giving me an delivery order that was going to give me some overtime... OR if he was going to give out that sweet gravy run to another driver!

But look at the first part of the definition above: Responsible for the direction of the entire whole.. not just my selfish little piece of the heating oil pie.

A Dispatcher is THE conductor

The conduit by which a given company or organization is successful or not.

Here's what the government says a dispatcher is and isn't:
Dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, equipment, or service vehicles to carry materials or passengers. Some dispatchers take calls for taxi companies, for example, or for police or ambulance assistance. They keep records, logs, and schedules of the calls that they receive and of the transportation vehicles that they monitor and control. In fact, they usually prepare a detailed report on all activities occurring during their shifts

So why are dispatcher paid so poorly?

Ignorance, mainly... Management is ignorant, like I was at 25 years of age, with two toddlers to pay for, I was only looking out for me.

So what needs to happen?

Here, I'll give you a clue... This is coming from the US government mind you:
Dispatchers generally are entry-level workers who are trained on the job and need no more than a high school diploma. Many States require specific types of training or certification.

So... the one, single most important person to ensuring the WHOLE day's productivity... doesn't need any more than a high school diploma???

WTF? !!!

The economy is nose diving... the excesses of the past are long gone. A company is either profitable or it's history, and if a company is in the transportation industry, if it wants to STAY in the transportation industry, will:

  • Aggressively Hunt for Better Dispatchers

  • Give huge raises and/or bonuses to keep the good dispatchers they have now

  • Jedi Dispatchers of the world, remember this:

    Your company needs YOU a lot, I mean a LOT more than you need them!

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