Oie, an online taxi booking and dispatching mobile app, which is expected to cut short waiting time for both drivers and passengers was launched in Thimphu, on April 27.

The app would also enable travel at odd times and to relatively inaccessible locations.

Partner and director of DrukSmart Pema Tshering, said that a study done by the company showed that taxi drivers spent 40 percent of their time and fuel in search of passengers. “Through this app we expect to save time as well as fuel by bridging the passengers and the drivers.”

A press release stated that Oie enables taxi drivers to increase their income substantially and also ensures credibility and safety of the passengers through the immediately accessible database of driver profiles.

A taxi driver, Tshering Lhendup, said that the app not only provides security for the passengers, but also helps taxi drivers in case a passenger runs away without paying.

The app has two parts – Oiedrive for the passengers and Oiedriver for the taxi drivers.

Passengers can log in to the app through their facebook account or using their mail ID and phone number. The service which can be availed 24/7 automatically dials to the nearest taxi driver available when a passenger picks a destination. If the driver does not answer within 20 seconds, the call is directed to the next nearest driver.

Passengers can know whether their request is accepted through the app and through the message alerts.

Based on Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) rates, the app also provides cost estimate of the journey.

Pema Tshering said that Oie would enable a convenient, reliable door-to-door taxi facility. “Harnessing the accessibility of mobile technologies and 100 percent connectivity in Bhutan, Oie comes at an opportune time for Bhutanese to acquire the comfort of mobile technologies like most other places in the world.”

The app is available for both iOS and android. The app is currently available for Paro and Thimphu.

Currently, there are more than 90 taxi drivers, and more than 1,000 passengers from Thimphu and Paro registered with Oie. More than 600 taxi drivers expressed interest in the app and have enrolled with the company.

As of December 2017, there are 4,455 taxis in the country, 2, 926 in Thimphu region.

Karma Cheki