Association raises concerns

Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

A majority of taxi operators will find it challenging to adapt to the proposed technologically advanced app called Vodo.

Fiji Taxi Association general secretary Ashwin Lal said the app required operators to be able to accept debit and credit cards as payment systems.

“If you look at this industry very carefully, a lot of our drivers had very minimal education,” he said. “So a lot of them will find it difficult to run this system in their taxis.

“One of the requirements of the application is that they must have a smartphone. Some of our drivers are still using phones with buttons.

“How can they use this application when they don’t even have a smartphone or a tablet.” He said the payment systems would also be difficult for the driver and passenger.

“What if the application does not work in an area when there is no proper network? “We have places in Tavua, Rakiraki and Ba that don’t have good network but we will be required to transport our passengers to these places.

“What happens then? Do we still accept cash payment or will we let the customer go without paying.” Mr Lal also explained how road conditions could also affect the operator’s services under the proposed app.

“Some informal settlements near our bigger cities and towns still have gravel road. “Our drivers operate in these conditions every day.

“Will it affect the placement of the smartphone or tablet which is required to be on the dashboard of the vehicle.

“These are the type of questions that we need answered and we as an association are calling on LTA to hold consultations with our members before introducing it.”

According to LTA’s terms of reference for the proposed app, the taxi operator would have a choice of vehicle interface’s through either a smartphone (example Samsung A50 type) with screen size of no less than 6.4 inches measured diagonally with a width of not less than 74.5mm.

A tablet option must be available for those taxi operators who elect to pay the additional costs of this option.

All taxi operator equipment would be provided at the operators cost including a fixed dashboard mounting with the screen clearly visible to the customer at all times.

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