The taxi industry aims to improve service quality through the newly launched TAXI app by allowing passengers to rate the drivers, who will be rewarded or penalized accordingly.
But Keith Li, co-founder of Innopage, an app developer, wrote on his blog that the taxi industry’s latest initiative is not going to work.
The rating feature is obviously copied from rivals such as Uber and Cetah.
But applying this to taxi drivers won’t change fundamental problems with the industry, Li said.
At the root of the bad service many passengers experience with taxis is income pressure.
Taxi drivers are often accused of driving too fast, being picky about customers (preferring those who are making longer journeys) and rude.
Li said long hours and low returns are key reasons behind these problems.
To make more money, the cabbies try to increase the number of trips by driving faster.
Why can’t taxi drivers earn very much?
As the issuing of licenses has been suspended for years and existing licenses are mostly owned by investors, a driver must typically rent a taxi to get into the business.
Licenses cost millions of Hong Kong dollars.
Drivers have to generate enough revenue to cover the high rental cost so that investors can make a decent return.
The new app won’t address the income problem at all.
Li also does not like the design of the official taxi industry app, pointing to the poor user interface and user experience.
“Pushing badly designed apps is almost like throwing money away,” he said.
“The usual reaction of customers unsatisfied with an app is to delete it after a short trial.”
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