Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday launched Kerala Savari, which is the first online taxi service owned by a state government, in Thiruvananthapuram. This initiative is the first such initiative taken by any state in the country.
The objective of this new initiative is to link the existing autorickshaw-taxi networks in Kerala and to ensure safe and affordable travel for the public. This will also work as a helping hand for the jobless taxi drivers and for people to get fair rates.
The government stated that it has been observed that other online platforms switch to dynamic pricing during peak hours, and shows high rates for the same destinations, and with regards to this Kerala government stated that there will be no fluctuation in fares on Kerala Savari. Kerala Savari only charges an 8% service charge in addition to the rate set by the government, whereas other online taxi platforms charge 20-30 percent of it. The amount, collected as a service charge from Kerala savari will be further utilized for the project operation and promotional incentives for passengers and drivers, as stated by the government.
Operated by the Motor Workers Welfare Board under the labor department, the first phase of the scheme is being implemented in Thiruvananthapuram city. The public can start using taxi and autorickshaws services by using the Kerala Savari mobile app, which can be easily downloaded from Google Playstore now. The service is supported by a 24-hour call center. There is a plan to implement this project in the entire state of Kerala after evaluating the first phase with Thiruvananthapuram city. Kerala Savari will also reach Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur afterwards.
Kerala Savari is safe and reliable for women, senior citizens, and children as safety features have been given priority, said, operators. A police clearance certificate is compulsory for drivers joining the scheme and proper training will be given to them, said the statement.
The app, Kerala Savari also features a “panic button” that can be pressed in the event of an accident or any case of danger or emergency. It can be used by both passengers and drivers. Pressing the button will bring up options to select Police, Fire Force, and the Motor Vehicle Department. If you are in a situation where you are unable to select an option, just press the button and you will be directly connected to the police control room. It has also been decided to install GPS on vehicles as well. This will all be executed in a phased manner.