Taxi bidding service – Any sense in India?

At the recently concluded NAVTEQ LBS Challenge in Las Vegas, I learnt that Taxi4me – a mobile taxi ordering service from T+1 solutions (an Estonian company) won the grand prize.

Taxi4me

Pic credit - http://bit.ly/lAgv

Taxi4me helps consumers connect with trusted taxi companies. This mobile application will get you a trusted Taxi service for your desired trip. The expected time and destination is sent from a user’s mobile phone to a taxi brokering server. Local taxi companies then submit competitive bids and proposed routes back to the consumer.

The idea at the outset seems to have potential. The emergence of various radio taxi / rent-a-car companies surely indicates that the need has risen manifolds in the recent times. However, it will be interesting to know what Indian users think about it.

If you have used a taxi service ever, what has been your experience about it?

Do you think you will use such a service for your taxi need?

How would you prefer to book a taxi the most?

  • Call
  • SMS
  • Internet

Anything other problem that this service still doesn’t address?

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12 responses to “Taxi bidding service – Any sense in India?

  1. It’s an interesting concept.
    The thing is there are already quite a few radio cab facilities in Delhi offering more or less the same per km rate. It’ll definitely be an advantage if one could get to know the cheapest one in a ‘real-time’ scenario. What though would also be required is the kind of Cab one needs. Ac/non-Ac have varying charges, also the fact that these cab services charge you both on kms as well as for the time duration you need the cab.

  2. Dear Rachit,

    Your feedback is relevant. Thanks.

    There are cab services available for Rs. 7.50, 10, 15/- I know at least. From this perspective, I feel it may even make sense.

    I feel that the user reviews around experiences for these cab providers can make it an interesting service.

  3. It’s hard to say for me because I am not really into using cabs 🙂 As far as I understand, it may be a useful service where the taxi market is very mature. In India, people don’t have to _plan_ for a taxi since they can always just walk out and catch an auto. In downtown bombay where autos are not allowed, one can catch Taxi just like that.

    The other use case of taxi in India is pre-planned travel (as against the ad-hoc travel mentioned above). Pre-planned is usually planned well in advance and location doesn’t pose so much of a challenge there.

    Overall, I don’t see much use of this kind of service in India.

  4. The concept is innovative and very very usefull. But when i put myself in the shoes of a consumer, I have a very important question; why will i trust the server to populate cheapest/most-reliable/friendly taxi service available.
    The product, i will say is an enabler. But the backbone brand will have to speak for itself. Here,I feel, the service provider is the deal maker or breaker.
    User reviews of existing customers, giving high/low rating to the services from different vendors will add reliability to the service. Please keep a web interface for your product, where customers can rate a service provider. Mobile app should be able to fetch the averaged rating, apart from normal details like fare, car-model etc…

  5. Nice application.

    A single Interface taxi booking service is one of the most required application at this point of time. The Generic problems posed/faced by the users & the proposed resolution is mentioned in the pointers here under.

    1) An sms based communicative surface to validate the requirement. The general problem faced by the consumer currently is the long on hold time whenever a cab booking service is called upon. The same prompts the user to dial in an alternative cab booking service if the user is way back in the attandence list.

    2) A general problem being faced is the non availability of certain cab services from a couple of pick up points. The same prompts a user to call upon the other available services in case the route is not being attended by one cab service. A centralised sms cab booking service would certainly take care of the issue as the distant or the points which are not catered to by most of the economical cab services can be picked upon by the premium cab services.

    3) Confirmation schedule. A generic issue being faced currently is the non confirmation of the booked cab by certain operators (wherein they ask the consumer to wait for a confirmatory sms in case a cab is available). An automated & comparative system would take care of both the confirmation & the availability aspects along with a high service delivery ratio.

    Their are a couple of other value additions to the framework if implemented. Would be glad & open to discuss the same.

  6. Piyush,

    I am not sure if any of the cab services are really charging
    Rs 7.50. If at all they tend to display this information, you need to read between the lines or the customary “*”. They might be counting the distance traveled and then multiplying it with 2.

    Anyway, as of now – all these services seem to be on the expensive side. Plus they carry a sort of “unreliability” tag with them. Errant drivers, non-arrival of the cab as per the discussed schedule are some of the hitches.

  7. @Rahul – You have a point on the reliability. This points me to the fact that the central server will again have to rate all the service providers based on the user feedback(s). Your feedback is pretty focussed as well. Thanks.

    @Ojasvi – The interface could be SMS/GPRS/IVR, anything.
    You have an interesting point on scheduler engine at the backend. Cool, your feedback looks pretty interesting overall. Let’s discuss this over a meeting sometime soon.

    @Niche Techie – Quick Cabs provide it for 7.50/- however it’s a non-dependable service many times. The point of question is not their expensiveness or their post booking behavior but the fact that, “Can these service providers be led towards real-time competition and provide some benefit to the consumer?”. After all it’s the matter of losing a lead in real-time.

    I also think that with a centralized interface, consumers can rate the taxi service which will affect their rating overall and hence lesser leads. Ideally they should be compelled to improvise with this solution.

  8. The style of writing is very familiar . Have you written guest posts for other blogs?

  9. Hey Piyush,

    Sorry for the late response…the concept looks interesting but if I think from Indian market’s point of view where people dont trust the online medium or rather technology too much it will take a while for such as service to pick up. If I speak for me, even after booking the cab on the phone I don’t trust whether the cab has been booked and make alternate plans in case of a fall out. I will agree with one of the initial feedbacks that this concept will work very well in a mature taxi system.

    Sms is definitely a very good way of communicating coz u have a copy of the request at the same time a confirmation that your request has been received.

    Hope we can have something like this soon here but its acceptance will take a while.

    Cheers!
    Namita

  10. @Ex-Girlfiend – I also write for pluggd.in

    @Namita
    Thanks your sharing your valuable thoughts. I agree with you that it will take a while for this service to pick up.

    A common feedback I have received is that people are fed up with the way these taxi services deal with the customers.

  11. Hi!
    Great information to have an update on, earlier i was not so keen on all these. Well it seems that we will catch with the western culture very fast. So, going into future will never stop any developing country with Mobile / Internet/ SMS taxi booking.

    Today anyone having internet at home would prefer netbank, railway e-ticket booking and interestingly even movie tickets are now sold online……so on.. goes the list.

    Check on my site with some interesting youtube videos.

    I will be looking for more related updates on this regularly.

    Cheers!

    Admin
    3 G Mobile Phones Great Offers
    SelfBank Mobile

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