‘Kerala Savari,’ the country’s first online taxi service owned by a State government, was rolled out in the State on Wednesday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the online platform which promises ‘fair and decent service to passengers and a reasonable remuneration to auto rickshaw and taxi workers.’ An initiative by the Motor Workers Welfare Board under the leadership of the Labour department, Kerala Savari ensures safe travel for the public at government-approved fares.
Unlike other online platforms which switch to dynamic pricing during peak hours, there will be no fluctuation in fares on Kerala Savari. Online taxi companies increase charges up to one-and-a-half times during peak hours. Kerala Savari charges 8% service charge, while for other online taxis, it is 20% to 30%. The amount collected as service charge will be used for the implementation of the scheme and for providing promotional incentives to passengers and drivers.
Kerala Savari aims to offer a safe and reliable online service for women, children, and senior citizens. A police clearance certificate is mandatory for drivers joining the scheme. Proper training is also provided. Further, to address the security concerns of passengers and drivers, a panic button system has been introduced in the online app. This button can be pressed in the event of a car accident or if under any danger. It can be done privately. If the driver presses the panic button the passenger will not be alarmed, or if the passenger does the same, the driver will not realise this. When one presses the button, there is an option to select police, fire force, or Motor Vehicle department. If the situation is so dangerous that one cannot select an option, press the button and the person will be directly connected to the police control room.
24-hour call centre
It has also been decided to install GPS on vehicles at a subsidised rate. This will be implemented in a phased manner. A 24-hour call centre has been set up for this purpose. A state-of-the-art call centre is functioning at the District Office of the Motor Workers Welfare Board. The call centre works in such a way that all service-related issues can be resolved immediately.
In capital first
Kerala Savari app is available to the public on Playstore from Wednesday midnight. As many as 541 vehicles, including 321 autorickshaws and 228 cars, have already been registered in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, where the first phase of the project will be implemented. The project will be implemented in the entire State after evaluating the first phase. Kerala Savari will also reach Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur Corporation limits within a month.