THE Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) signed a partnership on Friday with taxi-hailing smartphone app MiCab to improve its data collection on Cebu’s traffic.
u201cThe partnership will allow Citom to gather a much better quality of data that will be translated into traffic engineering initiatives. The use of MiCab application in our system will also pave the way for a more judicious distribution of taxis in the city,” Citom executive director Rafael Yap said in a press conference held shortly after the signing of the memorandum of agreement.
Yap said maximizing the MiCab application reinforces Citom’s past initiatives such as the deployment of phones with global positioning system (GPS) in some taxis in order to collect real-time traffic flow and road condition data.
He said Citom needs at least 300 phones equipped with their system and that of MiCab to produce quality data for live traffic feeds. Citom’s goal is to have 500 smartphones running in their system.
u201cThis is not an enforcement tool for taxi drivers. We do this purely for data gathering collection initiative. This is at no cost to the city,” said Yap, adding that the funding will come from the technical grant the city got from World Bank, Korea ICT for Development and US Aid as a proof of concept on the use of low cost mobile vehicle tracking systems.
MiCab is a smartphone app that assists commuters in getting a cab. The user needs to just tap app which will then send a signal to available smartphone-equipped cabs within a two-kilometer radius.
The passenger is charged P5 for the taxi booking on top of the taxi fare.
The app is currently available for Andriod smartphones. It will soon be made available in Windows and iOS before the end of the year.
MiCab was developed by Kenneth Baylosis, Keith Levi Lumanog and Eddie Ybanez, who got the full backing of Next IX.
The team targets to roll out the MiCab application to a thousand taxis in Cebu by the end of the year. Currently there are 60 Ken taxis running MiCab. The team aims to capture 80 percent to 90 percent of the taxi hailing service in the country in the next couple of months.
As opposed to the traditional booking method using radios, Next IX chief executive officer and founder Bobby Suson said that with the MiCab app, taxi bookings now go direct from the customer to the taxi driver.
u201cThe app can be a parallel mode to connect. This actually adds efficiency to their operation,” he said.
The MiCab team is planning to expand quickly in Davao, Iloilo and Manila through franchising.
Suson also announced they are also fastracking the app’s offline version to enable passengers to hail taxi using the SMS and the identification of MiCab zones for pick-up location.
He said they have already closed deals with two large malls and BPO companies for the installation of the MiCab zone. They are also in negotiations with other commercial establishments.
Suson is optimistic that the use of the app will soon gain traction in the Philippine market, as smartphone booking is now widely used in other countries like Singapore, Malaysia and China.
MiCab is also in talks with telco companies to ensure faster connectivity for those who want to book taxis via their data plan.