Taxi-hailing apps apparently do so much more than enable commuters to find a ride with the convenience of their smartphones. With MiCab, a recently-launched taxi-hailing app in Cebu City, Philippines, the platform will also be used to help improve the traffic situation in the city.
The Cebu City government’s Traffic Operations Management (Citom) has recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the founders of MiCab to use the platform to “gather a much better quality of data that will be translated into traffic engineering initiatives,” said the agency’s executive director, Rafael Yap, in a media conference.
While MiCab will not directly improve the traffic situation in the city, the data gathered through the taxis’ trips around the city will contribute to the government’s planning initiatives.
Citom aims to equip 500 smartphones with its data-gathering system through a project funded by a technical grant from bilateral and multilateral funding sources, including the USAID, Korean ICT and the World Bank. Data will be incorporated in cebutraffic.org, which enables citizens to track the traffic situation around the metropolis, aiding in their route planning.
Citom will sponsor 300 units of MiCab’s smartphone packages, and will provide these free of charge to participating taxi operators. Currently, MiCab provides smartphones with data connectivity to taxi operators at PhP 30 (about US$ 0.75) per day. Citom says its subsidy will be at no cost to government, as it will be shouldered by the grant proceeds.
In the media conference, MiCab says it has already partnered with two malls and a BPO firm in metro Cebu, which will offer “MiCab zones” designed as pick up areas for MiCab users. Apart from the fact that MiCab charges customers only PhP 5 (about US$ 0.12) on top of the fare, the app will also work even when there is no data connection. The app’s Android variant will transmit and receive relevant information through SMS.
At present, MiCab already runs on 60 of Ken Taxi company’s fleet of 200 cabs, although the startup is planing to fast-track its expansion into other cities, such as Metro Manila and Davao, through franchising, reports Bobby Suson, co-founder and CEO of Nextix, Inc., which has provided seed funding to MiCab earlier this year.
MiCab is a free download for Android devices. iOS and Windows Phone variants are in the works.
Featured image credits: Wikimedia Commons