The Namibian taxi business is one marred by inconveniences when it comes to service delivery, while taxi owners continue risking their business by employing drivers over whom they have little control.
The lack of monitoring mechanisms makes it difficult for taxi owners to know the exact amount of profit a single taxi generates, while a taxi owners’ regulation of movement of their vehicles ends the moment an employed driver takes over.
To add salt on the wound, the safety of commuters are always at risk since it is very difficult to trace in real time the routes a taxi takes and the possibilities of kidnappings are high.
Against this background an innovative tech start up branded Logic Plus Information Technologies CC has come up with a solution to formalize the haphazard taxi industry by introducing e-cab, which functions in almost the same way as Uber.
The application, which can be easily uploaded on a smart phone, makes it possible for commuters to hire taxis, make payments directly to the taxi owners using mobile devices without the hustle of flagging down for transport and paying in hard cash.
“E-cab is the product of a hackathon we held sometime in the past where we sort solutions to the haphazard taxi industry by making it possible for riders to order for a taxi and making payments using their smart phones,” the technical director Gervasius Ishuuwasaid.
The start-up’s Managing Director, Jonas Tomanga, pointed out that the company is dedicated to bring professionalism to the taxi business and making Namibia’s cities and towns smarter.
“The idea behind e-cab is to make sure that owners of taxis do not continue losing out on their actual daily profits to dishonest taxi drivers who swindle earnings, the reality is that a driver can work for five hours but ends up cashing money for three hours,” said Tomanga.
And while concerns over the safety of taxi riders has been raised every now and then, the application’s utilisation of GPS technology makes it possible for both the taxi owner and the riders’ kith and kin to verify and monitor movement in real time.
“The moment one gets in a taxi everything that happens to the taxi and the passenger from there on is unknown to both relatives and friends, as well as taxi owners, this application makes it possible for passengers to communicate their geographical position as they travel thus it makes it easy to monitor movements,” added the company’s Business Developer, Leroy Deocothle.
Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga confirmed with this publication that indeed cases of kidnappings were on the rise although the major culprits were robbers pretending to be passengers.
“While it is rare for taxi drivers to kidnap anyone but we have incidences where people pretending to be passengers end up holding drivers and passengers hostage and robbing them out of their money.”
“In most cases these are normal people who will just be looking for quick money for a drink, they get away with taxis and end up dumping them in secluded areas,” said Ndeitunga.
Meanwhile other countries like South Africa and Ghana have made in-roads in sanitizing their transport sector and the trio believe the application will go a long way in improving efficiency, transparency and flexibility in the haphazard taxi business environment.