Crowdsourcing Taxi Reviews


One of the stark differences between Malaysia and Singapore (besides the remarkably better food in Malaysia) are the Taxi Drivers. I used to frequently go to Singapore for business trips and for just about everywhere I went, I chose the taxi, either a friend would help book a comfort cab via their iPhone app, or I’d just call the hotline to book one. I’ve never once been turned down by a Taxi Driver, and I’ve never once had a driver negotiate the price with me. There it was all meters, it was all on the up and up.

In Malaysia however, the situation couldn’t be anymore different, and so its good to see someone (other than the government or Taxi company) trying to help solve the problem by using a smartphone application to crowdsource taxi reviews. On the face of it, the idea is brilliant, have people write reviews of taxis and then collate that data online. It makes it so that ‘bad’ taxi drivers get penalized and ‘good’ taxi drivers are rewarded.

The idea itself is sound but the execution unfortunately–was not up to par.

The reviews on the website are both poor in terms of concrete data, some reviews even had the cab numbers as HXXXX, which mean absolutely nothing.

Also, the number of reviews is also quite low, so they really haven’t reached the threshold where the data would be useful. I guess they should have required QR codes on taxi cabs, so people could easily scan the QR code and write a review, or scan the QR code to get the review of the cab before getting in.

It’ll also be interesting to see if the Taxi Companies and authorities take reports on Taxi Monger seriously, for instance consider the review below:

I wonder if anyone would follow up on the case, or what the mechanism would be like.

In India, the ipaidabribe website allows the tracking of bribes to government officials. Currently they’ve received 16,000 reports from 443 cities in India. Of ┬ácourse bribery being rampant in India doesn’t exactly qualify for front page news, but at least we Technology stepping in.

I feel is that the basic premise is this, if we make it easier for people to report cases–they will start reporting cases. At some point a threshold will be reached where the number of cases provides sufficient data to combat corruption, whether it’s government officials taking bribes or taxi drivers refusing to use the meter. The first step in the process to eradicate this behavior is to get the right data, and on that note at least we seem to be moving in the right direction.

Although possibly not quick enough.

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