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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

GoaMiles: Joy & confusion in driver;s first taxi trip

Story: The | Goan | 10th August 2018, 02:17 Hrs

THE APP GLITCHES
1)
When booking the ride, there was no option to pay by cash. The only option available was to pay by card, and pay on the spot based on the "estimated cost." As such, the customer had to pay up before the driver even came for the pick-up
2)
A glance at the break-down of the total amount paid showed that while Rs 638 was the "Travel charge", Rs 90 was attributed to "Fees & Charges." This could only mean that the customer paid the GTDC Rs 90 for availing the app to call a cab
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OTHER TAXIS FALL IN LINE
* A couple of inquiries made during the day also showed that the once exorbitant non-monitored taxi drivers had dropped their rates
* While two drivers were quoting Rs 800 for the same route, one quoted Rs 900, while another stuck to Rs 1200
* This is a visible change from them otherwise not budging a Re below Rs 1200, and going up to Rs 1500
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PANAJI: For the first time on Thursday, one of the 350 drivers tied up with the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) taxi-app service, got booked via the Goa Miles app for a drop from the airport to the Panaji bus-stand. He seemed happy to have been booked via the app, expressing joy to someone who called him while on the ride, unaware that the customer was a local who followed the language. When asked how the app was working, he expressed optimism over the future saying that it needed time to pick up. "It will take at least a month. People from all over India need to become aware that the app exists, so let's see how it goes," he said.
As soon as he arrived for the pick-up, he made the customer enter the One-Time Password, and set off. However, he was taken aback at the end of the ride, when the app on his phone displayed to him that the amount due to him was Rs 0. "Did you pay already?" he asked. "Yes. I paid with my card before the ride started." "But how will I get the money?" he asked, confused. "It will probably be credited directly to your account," was the reply. "How much did you pay?" "Rs 727. Call me later in case the amount was not credited to you." Slightly uneasy, he drove off.
There were a couple of things that made both sides feel uneasy here.
1) When booking the ride, there was no option to pay by cash. The only option available was to pay by card, and pay on the spot based on the "estimated cost." As such, the customer had to pay up before the driver even came for the pick-up.
2) A glance at the break-down of the total amount paid showed that while Rs 638 was the "Travel charge", Rs 90 was attributed to "Fees & Charges." This could only mean that the customer paid the GTDC Rs 90 for availing the app to call a cab. GTDC Chairman Nilesh Cabral had earlier explained that a fee ranging from Rs 20 to Rs 80, depending on distance, would be charged to customers for using the app.
3) The driver seemed to have no way to confirm if the money had indeed been credited to him, and was lost.
A couple of inquiries made during the day also showed that the once exorbitant non-monitored taxi drivers had dropped their rates. One can only assume that this is thanks to the arrival of the app. While two drivers were quoting Rs 800 for the same route, one quoted Rs 900, while another stuck to Rs 1200. This is a visible change from them otherwise not budging a Re below Rs 1200, and going up to Rs 1500. This begs the question - if one can get a taxi for the same route at Rs 800 without the app, and one is sure that the money has gone directly to the driver, why would one use the app, for a just a couple of rupees cheaper, that too when over 12% is going to the GTDC?