Tackling Rude Taxi Drivers Through The Cell Phone
Two groups of advertising professionals have used their innovative skills to help millions of urban Indians who are at the receiving end of rude taxi drivers.
Narayanan Suresh 08/11/2010
India’s famed software community numbering over two million are too busy solving the problems of people outside the country. So two groups of advertising professionals have donned their software hats and used their innovative skills to help millions of urban Indians who are at the receiving end of rude taxi drivers.
Two software applications developed by separate groups of advertising professionals in Mumbai have caught the attention of Netizens in both Mumbai and Bangalore. MeterDown and MeterJam are the new buzzwords on the Net. MeterDown is an iPhone application developed by Siddhartha Banerjee which helps a taxi passenger to get the correct revised fare while on the move. Due to the frequent increase in fuel prices, local regulators keep revising the taxi fares in various cities. The electronic and mechanical fare meters are not revised immediately and passengers have to rely on charts which most taxi drivers conveniently “forget” to carry.
Banerjee’s simple application is available through Apple’s online store. The app which needs to be downloaded to the phone will help a passenger to get the correct revised fare for every meter reading instantly. An Apple fan, Banerjee’s app has been specifically developed for Apple phones. But I am sure other enterprising software enthusiasts will quickly adapt it for all other phone brands.
In fact, another enthusiast Bhavna Sharma designed the interface for the app, MeterDown. A few days before MeterDown hit the headlines, another batch of advertising professionals started a simple website, MeterJam, to campaign for a boycott of taxi drivers in Mumbai. The campaign targets rude taxi and autorickshaw (India’s three-wheeler taxis) drivers who say instant “No” to passenger request and refuse to ply their vehicles to the desired destinations.
Through the website, www.MeterJam.com the campaigners have urged people to boycott taxis on August 12 in Mumbai and Bangalore. The website design is simple. It enrolls supporters and facilitates sending the campaign’s message to three or more friends quickly to entice them to join. The campaign message could also be tweeted from the website itself. Of course, the campaign is also on Facebook and it has thousands of fans following every move.
So much so taxi drivers unions in both cities have been holding frantic meetings to ward off the ill effects of the “No to Taxi” campaign scheduled for August 12. Why did not the country’s geeks think of such simple apps to help people is a moot question.