Kolkata’s iconic yellow taxis are going digital and would soon start receiving fares through a digital payment solution, cab associations’ officials said on Wednesday.
The digital transactions can be made via an app-based solution through smartphones, and also by installing a device which will accept payments through all digital wallets, debit and credit cards.
“About 27,000 metered taxis currently are running in the city. Drivers and owners are increasingly realising the need for cashless transactions. Foreign passengers as well as new generation commuters want to pay through cards or any other digital mode,” said Bimal Kumar Guha, General Secretary, Bengal Taxi Association.
“This digital payment solution will be useful for drivers and taxi owners ahead of the U-17 Football World Cup as many foreign visitors will arrive to the city during the tournament.”
The yellow (or the yellow-black ones which can no more be seen) Ambassador taxis have been running in the city since 1949.
Guha said the drivers and owners of yellow and blue-white cabs would be trained about the procedure of the new payment solution and the service is expected to kick-start soon.
“Around 1,000 devices have been distributed and additional 20,000 machines are ready for distribution among drivers and owners,” Guha said.
Mirza Jahangir Beg, the Chief Executive and Managing Director of Astage India Marketing and Services — the payment solution developer — said the transaction can be made through “our PayZappy which is a boutique of many digital payment solutions”.
“We are mostly renting the Korean technology-based device to drivers or owners of the cab at a nominal fee of Rs 10 per day. This device is enabled to receive payments through debit, credit cards and also wallets. The user (drivers and cab owners) can check all the transactions.”
According to Beg, the drivers and cab owners can buy out the devices and passengers need not pay any commission for the services.
The technology company was targeting to cover 70,000 cabs including the metered taxis and luxury ones over the next six months, he said.