The city may be able to book black-and-yellow taxis on their mobile phones before Diwali. This will be possible only because two of the city’s biggest taxi unions — Mumbai Taximens’ Union and the Mumbai Taxi Association — signed a letter of intent with a city-based IT service provider, CWD Technology, to develop the app.
AL Quadros, veteran taxi union leader, said they are likely to sign a formal agreement with the company next week. “We are in process of bringing a new app to book taxis. We have already signed a letter of intent with the company and expect to sign the formal agreement next week,” said Quadros.
Taxi unions have decided to go online only because their daily earning have dropped after app-based aggregators like Ola and Uber were introduced.
HT was the first to write about the unions’ plan of bringing a new app. Presently, the city has around 39,000 conventional cabs, including air-conditioned Cool cabs and excluding radio cabs.
Quadros, however, is still unsure about the response of the drivers to the app. “As a union, we have tried to give the cab drivers a better option. Now it is up to them to accept it,” said Qudros.
He said the firm will develop the app, provide GPS service, set up a call centre and train drivers, while unions will provide all possible support to the company, besides encouraging drivers to register with the app. Malay Kothari, 31, a partner in CWD technology, said “We want to give a new experience to the passengers through this app,” said Kothari, adding they will also try to ensure that drivers earn from other sources such as advertisements.
Malay said the user interface of the app will be simple and friendly to the drivers and passengers. It will have all the safety features like a panic button. They will try to provide facilities like a phone charger inside taxis. “First, we will roll out the Android app followed by one for Apple and Windows phones,” said Malay.
Meanwhile, the state government has come up with a new draft of the ‘City Taxi Scheme-2015’, which will bring in a level-playing field for all the taxi operators. As per the scheme, the government will make registration with the transport department mandatory for all app-based taxi service providers, besides putting several other conditions, including CWD Technology.