Problem Statement : Fare, most of the time, is always a point of argument between passenger and taxi/auto driver. They debate on this issue frequently. You got to see this common scene everyday on streets and stations. We all negotiate on fare issue if it is not a government controlled fixed rate system.
Problem is more severe if a person comes from outstation and does not know the exact fare to his /her destination. Auto /taxi drivers are smart enough to know the psychological situation and unawareness of that person about the city and exploit him/her in many ways. Most common being the exorbitant fare. It not only creates the doubt in the mind of the passenger but also creates a bad reputation about the state government, city dwellers, and transport system. Passenger’s idiocy is the biggest hurdle for a good negotiation in the fare prices.
Another situation being the emergency circumstances like late night travel or natural circumstances like during rainy season. Auto /taxi drivers demand much more than the normal fare. Even the resident of the city becomes the prey to these drivers.
Though pre-paid booths are there at several places, there are some problems associated with this system – 1. Their location – nobody knows where they are located in the station, airport 2. Not everybody prefers to go to that booth – many times they are vacant, or other drivers catch hold on you in between before reaching the booth 3. If you are a resident of the city, you probably know the exact /approximate fare and would not like to pay the service tax which these booths charge additionally. Solution : I have thought of a digital fare information system which will be installed at Railway stations, bus stations, airports, major stations or pre-paid booths where the inflow of passengers is much more.
It will be like a bidding system (like in stock exchanges) where auto / taxi drivers would place their bids in rupees for a particular destination. The digital display board will be placed at a height of 15 ft above the ground which is easily visible from the ground and also in a crowdie situation. The display board will be a kind of similar to digital board in a stadium when we watch cricket.
For example, when a customer reaches at a station (suppose Ahmedabad Railway Station), he goes to the digital board operating booth and ask the operator for an auto to IIM. Operator will announce the IIM destination and auto /taxi drivers will place their bids. Suppose one auto driver puts Rs. 60/- using a kiosk like touch screen keyboard, it will be displayed on the digital board. Within seconds or minutes, if another auto driver wants to take the passenger for Rs. 40/-, he can ask the operator to change the bid to Rs. 40/-. Now it depends on the passenger which bid he/she has to select depending on time availability /money comfort with the passenger. A passenger may wait for next 5 minutes in expectation to receive a good deal. It is always the case that some taxi/auto drivers has to go to a particular destination irrespective of whether they carry a passenger or not. If they carry a passenger, it is their extra income and if they do not carry a passenger then it is already accounted for by them.
Concept : The concept is based on the belief that everything finds its important in this world. The fact is the need /situation where it best fits. If one item /thing is useless for someone, at the same time, it may be very useful for other. Issue is to find that person which makes use of that item. Similarly in this system, there may be many auto/taxi drivers who will anyway need to go to a particular route but has to wait for a passenger even at a lower fare. This digital information system is a platform to fill that demand of service provider and consumer. It will bridge the gap of transportation requirement at a very economical and feasible way while maintaining the trust, confidence of the carrier as well as passenger and without going into the negotiation hassle. At one end while taxi/auto drivers will be happy to get their desired money, passenger is also happy to get the best rates for his/her journey.