“Listen to those who know.”
How effective is taximeter in Nepal? What fraction of taxi users prefer bargaining over a running meter? What do those in the trade have to say about taximeter? Why is bargaining over taxi fare, although illegal, so rampant?
Answers to these questions give us an insight into the problems that keep taxi users and those in the trade fighting over taxi fare. It is only by listening to those who know, who face it every day, that we can find a solution to the problem. With this in our
mind, and to listen to feedback from first hand users of Mero Bhada Meter, Nirab dai and myself attended last week’s Sukul Bahas, a discussion programme held by GalliGalli at Gyaneshwor, centered around the use of taximeters in Kathmandu.
Speakers at the programme were Arjun Gautam, president of Nepal Meter Taxi Entrepreneurs Association, Ramchandra Karki, Chairman of Akhil Nepal Yatayat Vyavasayi Sangh and Bharat Gurung of Loktantrik Taxi Majdur Sangh.
The discussion was focused on whether or not taximeters were as effective as predicted at the time of their introduction into the city. Participants also talked about security issues in using taxi cabs in some locations in the valley. Adding to the discussion, some participants suggested the need for an information center to access relevant information about any taxicab, its owner and driver based on its registration number.
All three speakers and participants of the discussion acknowledged the fact of poor professionalism which is often displayed by taxi drivers, and a lack of civic sense on the part of taxi users.
At the end of the discussion we were called upon to present Mero Bhada Meter–an app for android devices–developed by Kathmandu Living Labs that aims to solve some of the pressing issues talked about during the discussion. We presented on how Mero Bhada Meter works and how it can empower taxi riders to estimate taxi fare before riding and calculate fare in real time while in ride. We received both plaudits and suggestions for our work.
If you are interested to learn more about Mero Bhada Meter, check this link at our website: (http://kathmandulivinglabs.org/project/details/11).