More taxi-booking apps on the way
By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
CONSUMERS will soon have more taxi-booking applications to try out when initiatives from the government, the main Bangkok taxi network and a social media service hit the market this year.
The Land Transportation Department is handling the government-backed mobile app package.
Sanith Phromwong, director general of the department, said it would provide the service under the Taxi OK and Taxi VIP applications from September. Cabs involved in the project will be fitted with information technology equipment and GPS.
The Taxi OK and Taxi VIP will enable users to book a taxi via the application. The Taxi OK service provides a ride with the basic standards; Taxi VIP will offer premium services.
The department expects that by the end of this year will have around 30,000 taxis installed with the IT device and equipment to support so-called smart taxi services. Sanith said the department aimed to have around 700,000 cabs fitted with the equipment by the end of next year.
He said the country has about 100,000 taxis. The department has asked the Thailand Development Research Institute to look into taxi services nationwide; the study will be announced in September.
Separately, Line, known for its popular social media service, and the Bangkok Taxi Cooperative Network will offer Line Taxi mobile application to the market before the end of the year. Ariya Banomyong, managing director of Line Thailand, said that the Line Taxi application will end long waits for passengers and counter the increasingly frequent practice of drivers of turning them away.
“Taxi drivers are part of Thailand’s landscape, and as the country moves towards Thailand 4.0 this cooperation aims at modernising traditional taxi riding. Our goal is to create new services that can improve the daily lives of Thai people,” said Ariya.
Vitoon Naewpanit, president of Bangkok Taxi Co-operative Network, said that the network has around 60,000 taxi members – covering over 60 per cent of the cabs in Bangkok.
He said the application will provide quality services while improving the livelihoods of taxi drivers. The partners expect that by the end of this year around 20,000-30,000 taxi drivers will have download Line Taxi.
Ariya said that of the 44 million Internet users in the country, around 90 per cent – or 40 million – use Line.