Photo Credit: Reuters
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday launched the LDF government's own e-taxi service app — named 'Kerala Savari' — which is said to be the first such initiative by any state in the country. Vijayan also flagged off, at the app launch event, the auto-rickshaws which would be operating under the new online taxi hiring service that has been rolled out by the state Labour Department.
Under the new initiative, the state government will link the existing autorickshaw-taxi networks in Kerala with an aim to ensure safe and dispute-free travel for the public at affordable rates prevailing in the state.
It is also envisaged as a helping hand to the autorickshaw-taxi labour sector, which is facing several challenges, the government had said last month when it had announced the launch of the service.
The government had said it has been learnt that there was a difference of 20-30 percent between the rate received by the motor transport labourers and the rate charged from the passengers in all the existing online cab services.
As people prefer to use online taxi services, many of the conventional taxi stands have disappeared and a large number of motor transport workers have been rendered jobless, the government had said.
The Kerala Motor Transport Workers' Welfare Fund Board is the implementation agency, which would act with the support of the departments like Legal Metrology, Transport, IT, Police and so on.
Kerala Savari would charge only eight percent service charge in addition to the rate fixed by the government, which was 20 to 30 percent in other online taxis, the government had said.
The amount, collected as service charge, would be utilised for the project implementation and promotional incentives for passengers and drivers, it added.
A police clearance certificate has been made mandatory for drivers joining the scheme and the app also has the feature of a 'panic button' which can be used in case there is any accident or another similar danger.
"It has been decided to implement the scheme across the state. At present, as many as 500 auto-taxi drivers in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation limits are the members of the scheme. Officials of various departments have imparted training to them in various subjects," the government had said.