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Kerala Savari

Context:

Kerala has soft launched ‘Kerala Savari’, the country’s first online taxi service owned by a State government, to ensure fair and decent service to passengers along with fair remuneration to auto-taxi workers.

Relevance:

GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About ‘Kerala Savari’
  2. Security-related features of ‘Kerala Savari’
  3. Will the new government initiative end the monopoly of private cab aggregators?

About ‘Kerala Savari’:

  • Operated by the Motor Workers Welfare Board under the aegis of the Labour Department.
  • Private cab aggregators used to make a killing with surge pricing during peak hours or in the event of rains.
  • The passengers were often forced to pay through their nose during these critical times.
    • But there will be no fluctuation in fares on Kerala Savari irrespective of day or night or rain.
  • When private app-based taxi companies increase the charges for services up to two to three times during emergencies, neither passengers nor workers benefit from it.
  • But Kerala Savari only charges an 8% service charge in addition to the rate set by the government, whereas the private cab aggregators charge up to 20 to 30% service charge.
  • The taxi owner will get the approved fare on ‘Kerala Savari,’ while cab owners working for private online companies would often get a fare which is below the government-approved rate.
  • Furthermore, of the 8% service charge collected from passengers, 6% will go to the technical partner, and the remaining 2% will go to the implementation of this scheme and for providing promotional incentives to passengers and drivers.
  • The government will not be benefiting from this scheme.
    •  For instance, if the passenger travelled a distance fixed for ₹100, the total fare would be ₹108 including service charge.
    • The car owner will get ₹100 and the remaining ₹8 would be used for running the facility and for providing promotional incentives to passengers and drivers.
    • In the case of online private cab aggregators, the car owner used to get below the rate of ₹100 although he covered a distance fixed for the same fare band. In addition, they would charge more than 20% service charge.

Security-related features of ‘Kerala Savari’:

  • Kerala Savari is claimed as a safe and reliable online service for women, children, and senior citizens.
  • This consideration has been given importance in app designing and driver registration.
  • A police clearance certificate is mandatory for drivers joining the scheme apart from the required proper training.
  • It has also been decided to install GPS in vehicles at a subsidised rate. This will be implemented in a phased manner.
  • A 24-hour call centre has been prepared for this purpose. A state-of-the-art call centre is functioning at the district office of the Motor Workers Welfare Board. The call centre works in such a way that all service-related issues can be resolved immediately.
Panic button system:
  • This button can be pressed in the event of a car accident or in cases of any other danger.
  • One can do it completely privately. If the driver presses the panic button the passenger will not be alarmed and the same goes for when the passenger presses the panic button.
  • When one presses the button, there is an option to select the Police, Fire Force, and Motor Vehicle Department numbers.
  • If you are in such a dangerous situation that you cannot select any option, press the button for a few seconds and you will be directly connected to the police control room.

Will the new government initiative end the monopoly of private cab aggregators?

  • Kerala has over five lakh autorickshaws and one lakh cabs.
  • The State government plans to bring all auto-taxi workers engaged in the sector under the new platform.
  • Since smartphone literacy is high in Kerala, the State is hopeful of bringing them under the scheme in a short span of time.
  • In addition, the Kerala government has also decided to provide fuel, insurance, and tyre subsidies for vehicle owners in the future and has already initiated talks with major companies in this regard.
  • After the evaluation of the first phase of the project in Thiruvananthapuram, it will be extended to the entire State in a phased manner.

-Source: The Hindu


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September 2022
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