A NEW player in the ride-hailing industry is training its sights on making this city the second area in the country to launch its services, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Northern Mindanao said.
Hirna, a young company that offers convenience to the taxi-riding public, has launched its business in Davao City last month and the firm’s top official said Cagayan de Oro will be the next city to establish its operation.
Hirna means “here na” or “here already” in local lingo.
Aminoden Guro, LTFRB-Northern Mindanao regional director, said the entry of Hirna will be to the advantage of the city’s riding public as they will get to enjoy the convenience taxis with ride-hailing software have to offer.
At present, Cagayan de Oro has dozens of taxis installed with a ride-booking software but this industry, quite popular in the country’s major urban areas like Cebu City and Metro Manila with the operation of Uber and Grab, has yet to establish its significant presence here.
Francisco Mauricio, Hirna chief executive officer and president, said by choosing Davao and Cagayan de Oro they want to establish their foothold in Mindanao and work their way up to Visayas and Luzon once the business starts to pick up.
Maurico said one of the differences of Hirna from other companies providing the same service in that Hirna has a “driver rating system” that keeps track of the drivers’ disposition on the road.
Mauricio said Hirna has data analytics that look at the number of rejections made by drivers, citations, attitude problem, and other negative issues.
“It [analytics] will collate to a driver rating system that would be shared between taxi operators and the LTFRB. The driver is then rated. We will know who the model drivers are and who are not,” he said.
Mauricio said they are planning on persuading the city’s taxi operators to have their units be connected with Hirna.
He assured the drivers and operators that Hirna will have favorable effect on their livelihood as his company will not be asking for extra charges from them, only a minimal fee, so that what they earn will be theirs.
With the driver rating system that Hirna will put in place for its affiliated taxi drivers, Guro said this will change the drivers’ outlook since how they deal with their passengers will be monitored and appropriate actions will be taken once the drivers are in violation of existing transportation and related laws.
Because of the system that Hirna will introduce, Guro said this will be advantageous to the passengers as, aside from the ease and convenience, drivers will now be mindful of their actions while driving.
Among the complaints that LTFRB has been receiving from passengers include rejection, bad grooming, and drivers lacking in manners.
“Once they use this app (Hirna), they will be disciplined,” he said, noting that there are still undisciplined drivers on the road.
At present, the city has 2,691 taxi units and close to a thousand operators, who were encouraged by the LTFRB-10 to consolidate their franchise by forming a cooperative or a corporation so they could be united, Guro said.
Also, under the Omnibus Franchise Guideline, new taxi units are required to have a dash camera, closed-circuit television, global positioning system (GPS), among others, he said.
The phone the drivers will be using will be installed with the Hirna taxi-hailing app and other softwares such as Waze, Google Maps, Facebook, and Viber, which can be remotely controlled by Hirna.
Aside from the Hirna-enabled cellphone that the drivers use in picking up passengers, those built-in features will also be useful for its operations as the company requires a GPS signal to track the taxi’s routes and destinations.
Glenn Fernadez, Hirna project manager, said the entry of Hirna to Cagayan de Oro will also help in creating a good impression of the city as it is expected that taxi drivers will now be courteous and their cars presentable to the riding public.