“iTaxi-Booking General Purpose Taxis” Hitting the Road Launching the First Round of 8,000 Experimental Trips at Discounted Prices
In order to provide convenient and thoughtful transportation services to physically challenged persons, The Institute of Transportation, MOTC (IOT) officially launched the “iTaxi-booking general purpose taxis” booking system today (2nd). Minister Lin Chia-lung of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications officially announced the services for public access. During the event, operators involved in the trial-run were invited to give a demonstration in person and shared their experiences of three types of user experience: “reassuring filiality,’ “worry-free schooling” and “barrier-free self-tours,” In order to encourage physically challenged persons to have firsthand experiences, the first round of 8,000 trips were launched. Experimental coupons offering a discount of up to NT$50 per trip will be distributed by contract taxi fleets and drivers. Users that access the iTaxi portals and the APP to make a booking are entitled to a discount off the taxi fare upon presenting the coupon when getting off.
“iTaxi-booking general purpose taxis” is a booking system developed by the Institute of Transportation, MOTC, with service mechanisms formulated. The trial run is funded by the Directorate General of Highways, MOTC. With the MOHW Minister’s years of experience in promoting the welfare of mentally or physically challenged persons and elderly, the special education resources of the Ministry of Education and the local governments’ collaborative management and integration of high-quality taxi fleets and drivers, the trial run validates the substantial improvement of issues of concern to users, drivers, taxi fleet operators and the government (four parties). This year, the IOT has cooperated with the local governments in four cities (Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City and Taichung City) for the first time to select qualified high-quality taxi fleets and sign trial-run contract taxi fleet agreements[AW1] with the local governments (Crown Taxi Fleet and Dafong Taxi Fleet in Taipei City and New Taipei City; Sinlida[AW2] Taxi Fleet in Taoyuan City; Taiwan Taxi Fleet in Taichung City). 195 mentally or physically challenged persons were invited to participate in the trial run. The Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders responded enthusiastically and granted transportation subsidies to patients. After the 5-month trial run, corrections were made based on the feedbacks of the mentally or physically challenged persons who experienced the booking and taxi ride, leading to the successful trial run completion.
“iTaxi-booking general purpose taxis” is a booking system developed by the IOT through inter-ministerial and local inter-county and inter-city cooperation. It is handed over to four local governments to set up a single booking portal site. The taxi fleets’ number of vehicles available to provide service every hour within 14 days will be disclosed for the public to make bookings. As long as a person with the need makes a booking a day before the ride before 2:00P.M., the taxi fleet must dispatch a vehicle and use the taximeter at all times to calculate fares. Fair, thoughtful and convenient transport services are provided to physically challenged persons. It is expected that the integrated supply and demand information will increase the passenger carrying capacity of general-purpose taxis, increase the income of drivers, reduce vacant mileage and increase the drivers’ willingness to transport physically challenged persons. As far as the government is concerned, administrative audit costs will be lowered, while operating subsidies will be more effective.
Although general-purpose taxis currently only account for 1% of the total number of taxis, with a limited scope of service regions and momentum, the iTaxi-booking general purpose taxis booking system not only provides technology-based assistance to taxi fleets in improving operating efficiency, but also the local governments can sign agreements with more contract taxi fleets. This way, more general-purpose taxis can join the iTaxi services. With the official launching of the services, we will try to incorporate other modes of transport to provide diverse services and promote them in other counties and cities. The service scope will be progressively extended to benefit more users and families in need. At the same time, we will keep abreast of actual operating data to conduct a rolling review on the subsidy mechanism that guides industrial development. This will contribute to the steady growth of the supply and demand sides of general-purpose taxis, thereby achieving a positive virtuous cycle, preparing to enter a super-aged society and fulfilling the “human-oriented transportation side by side with the people” governance policy.