Technology providers call 2013 the “mobile year” when everyone got a smartphone or tablet, businesses invested in mobile marketing, and even government agencies started funding their very own mobile applications. Among them is the transportation industry getting its share of the app industry’s blessings. Let’s take a look at some mobile applications and other technology-driven innovations in the Philippine transportation industry this year:
1. Easy Taxi
Imagine having an exclusive, ever-present, and trustworthy taxi service at a very affordable price. How much would you pay to skip waiting in line at taxi stands, avoid the holiday rush, or have peace of mind when traveling alone? Answer: 70PHP plus the regular taxi meter rate.
Easy Taxi, the world’s largest taxi-hailing mobile application, launched in Manila last August with the local advocacy of improving the image of the Philippines’ transportation industry as modern, safe, and convenient. The application operates in Metro Manila and over 50 cities worldwide.
In just a few clicks of your laptop, iPhone, Blackberry 10, or Android device, you can now order a taxi faster than ordering a pizza, and track the approaching taxi in real time. After entering your name and pick-up location, you will receive details about the driver’s name, photo, and car model. Easy Taxi partnered with Smart Telecommunications to enable GPS location in smartphones. In case your phone’s GPS is not working, Easy Taxi’s 24/7 customer support will call several times to update you about the driver’s location.
2. Trip Barker
Philippine transportation is largely commuting, and Trip Barker makes it easier by providing traffic news, weather updates, strategic routes, detailed directions, travel time, number of transfers, travel costs, and everything else you need to know when commuting. Developed by young Filipinos, Trip Barker is a free downloadable application for mass commuting in Metro Manila. Since the app is community-based, members can also share travel tips and updates.
Trip Barker won the first Philippine Transit App Challenge organized by the Department of Transporation and Communications (DOTC) in partnership with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) last October. In a move to empower the public with better decision-making abilities, DOTC made its database on bus, train, and jeepney routes publicly accessible for the said competition.
After the e-jeepney’s debut in 2012 comes the e-trike, an electric motor and rechargeable lithium-ion battery-powered tricycle. Unlike gas-powered tricycles, the e-trike is noiseless, runs smoothly, and has a bigger space to accommodate more passengers.
The Asian Development Bank recently invested 300 million USD for the Philippines to replace 100,000 gas-powered tricycles and save hundreds of millions a year by avoiding fuel imports. In September, a Japanese electric vehicle company called BEET registered its first e-trike with the Land Transportation Office and funded 5,000 more units to be commercially available in the Philippines this 2014. In the meantime, BEET is gathering data from tricycle drivers to improve the product and meet local needs. We can’t wait!