The story of Afghanistan’s first-ever GPS monitored taxi service
Kabul, a city of 5 million people, has one of the world’s worst traffic. Commuting in Kabul is always a hassle. Nearly 700,000 vehicles operate within the city. The city lacks a proper public transportation system. Those who can afford buy a car, and those who can’t afford rely on taxis. About 15,000 vehicles provide taxi service in Kabul.
Taking a taxi today presents problems and challenges for any customer in Kabul. It is not easy to get the cab driver’s attention when you often spend time trying to secure a cab ride. As a client, you don’t know if the car is safe or if the driver is registered to drive the cab. How can you be sure you will get to your destination? Can you trust the driver not to try to cheat you on price? Who else knows of your trip with this driver?
To help address some of these challenges, an Afghan businesswoman has launched Afghanistan’s first-ever GPS monitored taxi service called Kaweyan Cabs.
Kaweyan Cabs is a Transportation Network Company, owned by an Afghan businesswoman, managed and operated by the Business Innovation Hub in Afghanistan.
What makes Kaweyan Cabs service unique is that it is accessible through a customized application available as a free download on smartphones. The application allows the client to submit a trip request for a ride from a smartphone. The request is routed to Kaweyan’s certified drivers who use their GPS monitored cabs for pick and drop services.
Commencing limited operations in 2013, Kaweyan Cabs has grown substantially through the expansion of services and development of activities that provide a safe and secure travel experience. In 2015, Business Innovation Hub (BIH), an initiative of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) proposed and developed an application for Kaweyan Cabs to be used in Android and iOS smartphones. This application is designed to make the client experience in taxicabs as safe, comfortable and convenient as possible. Kaweyan Cabs is online 24/7 and will be available in metropolitan cities in neighboring provinces shortly.
One of the challenges that Kaweyan Cabs solves is the address issue. If someone, for example, requests a ride through calling a transportation company and is explaining the address to the dispatch it is time-consuming and in most cases the drivers are not able to find the customer. We do not have precise addresses, even in Kabul. It is always “Near this Mosque”, “opposite of that police post”, there are no clear house addresses or even street addresses. Kaweyan cabs solves this issue through its application. A customer pinpoints out on their application the exact place they want to be picked up at. This gives the driver an accurate GPS coordinate, making it for both parties easy to find each other.
Moreover, Kaweyan Cabs is the first of its kind company that uses the “metered pricing”. Customers pay a per KM fee, bringing an end to negotiating and headache that it was over priced or under priced.
Kaweyan Cabs drivers are regulated and overseen to follow the rules and regulations of the Traffic Department. Local drivers mostly do not follow the rules and regulations of the Traffic Department, Kaweyan Cabs is making it a trend and enforces its drivers to follow all the Traffic rules and regulations. This creates competition between drivers to ride according to standards and makes the roads safer for the wider community.
The customers are asked to rate their experience at the end of every trip and provide anonymous feedback. A driver with an average rating below four is automatically disqualified. This assures all riders that they’ll have the best expertise in the market. Moreover, this creates an atmosphere where the drivers are motivated to perform better.
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