Kerala Savaari: State govt to launch first of its kind alternative to private online auto-taxi services in August

Kerala govt. cab service to offer safe, dispute-free travel to passengers

July 27, 2022 10:16 pm | Updated July 28, 2022 09:38 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala Savaari, the State government’s online auto-taxi service, will be rolled out on Chingam 1 (August 17), the first day of the Malayalam almanac.

Modelled on the lines of private cab aggregators, the service will be piloted by the Labour department in the Thiruvananthapuram city Corporation limits. Initially, it will be limited to autorickshaws, with 500 of them plying in the city, Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty has said.

First of its kind

The service will ensure safe and dispute-free travel for the public at rates recognised by the Motor Vehicles department, besides supporting auto and taxi workers who have been facing a number of challenges in recent times.

The first online auto-taxi service by a government in the country, the service would link the auto-taxi service in the State, the Minister said. At present, the difference in fares shelled out by the passengers and what the motor workers got in online cab services is between 20% and 30%. Moreover, taxis or autos in stands did not get many customers. Taxi stands were disappearing, and people were being rendered jobless. People also preferred online taxis that picked them up from wherever they were. It was against this backdrop that the Labour department mooted the idea of an online auto-taxi service.

8% service charge

Mr. Sivankutty said besides the rates recognised by the government, only a service charge of 8% would be charged. Other online cab aggregators charged between 20% and 30% as service charge. The service charge would be used for running the service and giving promotional incentives to passengers and drivers. Unlike other cab aggregators that hiked rates by up to 1.5 times when the demand was more, the rates would remain uniform for Kerala Savaari.

Passengers and drivers could cancel bookings for precise reasons. If it was done without any reason, a small fine would be charged.

Safety of passengers, particularly women and children, the elderly, and the differently abled, had been prioritised. The Kerala Savaari app would have a panic button that could be used during emergencies by drivers and passengers both in complete secrecy. The vehicles would be fitted with GPS. Only drivers with police clearance certificate would be made part of the service. In the second phase, insurance and accident insurance coverage would be arranged for drivers and passengers, he said.

Tourism possibilities

Attempts are also on to exploit possibilities related to tourism. Drivers would be trained to function as tourist guides so that they could provide basic information to visitors. Special parking would be arranged for Kerala Savaari at airports and railway stations.

The Palakkad-based Indian Telephone Industries would provide the technical support for the service, to be supervised by the Motor Workers Welfare Fund Board, he said.

Mr. Sivankutty released the Malayalam and English logo for Kerala Savaari. Labour Secretary Mini Antony, Labour Commissioner T.V. Anupama and Motor Workers Welfare Fund Board chief executive officer and Additional Labour Commissioner Ranjith Manohar were present.

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