In a move to bolster the public image of taxi service and to add a level of security, the City of Barranquilla has launched a cool new app entitled, TAXIBAQ. You can download TAXIBAQ for free from the Google Play Store or by clicking here on your Android phone. The city hopes to make the service available for all platforms within the month.
TAXIBAQ offers riders in Barranquilla the ability to confirm their driver is in fact the registered driver of the taxi. Although the purpose is primarily for security and safety, the app also lets you rate the trip with stars and add comments on the driver’s profile which are apparently reviewed by both the city and the taxi company. It will be interesting to see whether these ratings will be publicly available.
Since late last year, the city has been building a driver’s registry – a precursor to the fare-metering system which is just around the corner. This new registry so far has 13,000 drivers, all of whom were required to submit a photograph of their face and fingerprints. Their identity and personal details are required to be displayed on a placard hanging from a seat back.
According to the city, during the pilot late last year, across the period of one month, the app was downloaded by 300 users and collectively, the average taxi user experience was 5 stars. Now that the app is available to the public, that rating may change somewhat. It’s not clear yet what the rating will be used for.
To use the application, simply either scan the QR Code (requires installation of a 3rd party scanner) which is located on the placard hanging from the seat back, or key in the taxi’s license plate. Within a few seconds, the driver’s photo and name will appear. From here, you can give a rating and enter either a compliment or a complaint.
TAXIBAQ has the potential to turn the public’s perception of taxi service in Barranquilla completely around, depending on how the authorities leverage it. They could do that by making the service transparent and by following up on customer complaints at both ends – with the driver, AND the customer.
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