Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Social networking as a means of developing a cycle-taxi ride share system

Over the last few weeks, I've been tinkering with various APIs from Google Latitude, mobile databases (including HTML's built in dbs), Facebook, rating systems, etc.

The goal of this active research was to develop an app and web service similar to "Click-a-Taxi", where cycle taxi / rickshaw drivers would be able to tap into an area of potential customers currently enjoyed by auto-taxi drivers.

Then I ran across existing apps and services based on social ride-sharing, and thought "that's it!  that's exactly what I'm trying to do!"  A social networking service that allows passengers to search for cycle taxi drivers in their area, contact them (either via phone or within a mobile phone app itself), and even rate the drivers or their experience of the ride.  But all of these services cater to auto-based ride sharing, so I can't just 'jump in' and use them as-is.

So before I invest a lot of time and effort in creating an infrastructure and app, I'm contacting several of these services (there is even one in Denmark), to see if I can convince them to add cycle taxis to their list of vehicles.

It would save me a lot of time in development, and provide a ready resource for freelance cycle-taxi drivers.  It also gives me a chance to form them into a 'cycle taxi association' that adheres to fair pricing (many of the drivers tend to overcharge, but most don't know any better), and a social rating system helps to keep them fair and improve their behavior, like following road rules.

This all is meant to improve the stature and impression of the cycle-taxi as a needed service in a time of saving fuel and the environment, and to preserve the culture in Copenhagen before it gets crushed by poorly designed regulatory measures.

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