In a bid to offer safe, fuss-free travel experiences, the Kerala government has set the ball rolling on a unique online cab service. The first of its kind in India, the initiative – titled Kerala Savaari – will feature lower surcharges, safety features, and special parking spots. Here’s all about it. By Eshita Srinivas
God’s own country will soon be home to a unique, government-run alternative to the more-popular corporate online cab services. Kerala Savaari has been rolled out by the Kerala government’s Labour Department in Thiruvananthapuram. Besides ensuring convenient and safe travel for commuters, the facility aims to support auto and taxi workers who’ve been struggling to make ends meet in recent times.
Cab service ‘Kerala Savaari’ to hit the ground running on August 17
— Kerala Government | കേരള സർക്കാർ (@iprdkerala) July 27, 2022
This service will be rolled out on August 17, which also happens to be Chingam – the first day of the Malayalam calendar. It would link the existing auto-taxi service in the state, officials noted and will initially feature about 500 autorickshaws. Kerala Savaari is also modeled on the lines of private aggregators like Uber and Ola, albeit with a few key differences.
The first is a difference in service charges – what the passengers pay and workers earn – which reportedly stands at around 20-30 percent with popular options. With the new service, this will change to just about eight percent and be used to run operations and offer promotional incentives.
That aside, unlike other taxi aggregators that hike rates by up to 1.5 times during high demand, Kerala Savaari’s charges will remain uniform. A small fine for cancellations without precise reasons will be in place. That aside, safety – of women, children, and the differently abled especially – is a priority for the service. A panic button will be accessible via the app for discreet use by both drivers and passengers and each vehicle will be fitted with a navigational (GPS) system. Only drivers with police clearance will be hired and eventually insurance coverage would be worked into the system as well.
Kerala Savaari: India’s first online auto-taxi service will be on streets from Aug 17th. Safe & hassle-free travel at approved rates. Kerala govt’s decision to enter this sector, till now a monopoly of large companies, is a revolutionary intervention in the field of labour.
— V. Sivankutty (@VSivankuttyCPIM) July 27, 2022
In addition to this, attempts are being made to boost tourism through this service. Drivers will reportedly be trained to function as guides and provide basic information to visitors. Special parking will be assigned for vehicles of this service at airports and railway stations. Palakkad-based Indian Telephone Industries have taken the lead on all the technical requirements for this.
Taxis and autos in the state, a report by Hindu notes have also been struggling to get customers, with commuters preferring online services. This initiative would help bridge the gap and generate employment.
Representative image: Nijwam Swargiary/Unsplash