A taxi service that doesn’t require passengers to carry hard cash has officially been launched in Cape Town.
The Loop taxi service requires you to register on their app which then allows you to tap using your bank card or phone to pay for your ride.
The service is the brain child of a young entrepreneur, Imtiyaaz Riley, from Manenberg on the Cape Flats.
The service launched today is now operational in digitally-enabled Loop taxis on the Mitchells’ Plain to Bellville route. It’s the first to have the majority of the taxis on their route digitised.
For many commuters paying a taxi fare using cash has been a burden for some time. If you don’t have cash in hand, you first have to queue at a nearby ATM to get money and risk missing your ride, especially during peak morning times when everyone wants to get to work on time.
But with this service, commuters using Loop taxis can pay their taxi fare by simply tapping their enabled bank cards or phones.
The young entrepreneur behind the technology innovation says that four taxi associations are already using the service during the pilot phase. Riley claims that they already have over 3 000 registered users.
“So, we did design thinking for about eight months, we did design thinking in the Western Cape and Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal, the results of the design thinking was almost 99 percent correct which basically proves to us that the problem exist not only at Empangeni and in Cape Town but throughout South Africa.”
36-year-old father of two, Warren Lakay, has been a taxi driver for most of his life. He says the innovation has made his job lighter.
“On the day to day basis like you all know we are transporting commuters and with this Loop experience for me it’s something new but something awesome most importantly it’s very safe for me as a driver and the commuters, firstly we are eliminating the money out of the system in other words it gives me more time to concentrate on the road and not concentrating on collecting money at the back.”
Commuters such as Nazley Riley have found the app to be user friendly and a safer way to commute.
“For me it’s very easy I don’t need to carry cash I don’t need to worry when I get out of the taxi I still need change I’m late I do take the same taxi every morning so I get to get to work on time all you need is to top up your wallet that’s all.”
Chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Bellville Taxi Association, Melton Oppelt, has hailed the service as a major breakthrough for the industry, drivers and passengers alike.
“We think it’s the good initiative that is brought to us by Loop we have decided as an association that we want to pilot here in the region of Mitchell’s Plain we have been running now for a couple of weeks and one thing now is that the drivers is also buying into this Loop initiative.”
The Vice President of Product and Solutions for the service provider handling transactions between commuters and taxi-operators, Vinesh Ramnarain, says the service is part of their transforming urban mobility programme.
“We are partnering with Loop basically to help digitise a lot of big cash that’s happening within the taxi industry as you know a lot of commuters use the taxis everyday travels.”
The minibus taxi industry is the backbone of the public transport system in South Africa and for generations owners and associations could not track their income accurately. The new service could help with this too.