A week after an app was launched to avail taxi service online, the Bhutan Taxi Association (BTA) launched an app called YANA taxi app, claiming that the new app has features that will not only benefit the passengers but also the drivers.

BTA members say their app is aimed to increase transparency in fare transactions and ensure the security of the passengers and the drivers.

YANA, which translates to ‘easy’ in Sharchop dialect, was developed by the YANA IT services. The app will be operational in all dzongkhags.

People availing the app service will have to register with the app.

Taxi drivers using the app will have to be a member of BTA. BTA has about 1,500 registered members today.

Chairman of BTA, Rinzin Chophel, said that registration and keeping the details of the users would not only help to monitor drivers but also the behaviour of the passengers. “It is not only the drivers who sometimes misbehave. The passengers could also do that. If a person brings in tobacco, the details from the app would make it easy for such detection.”

He explained that a user while choosing to book a ride would be provided with available nearby taxis and an estimated fare. The driver will be informed of the booking through the app.

The proprietor of YANA taxi app, Nima Tshering, said that if a driver accepts the booking, the person wanting the ride would be able to track the vehicle through the app, which also has a map feature. “A person can also choose the type of vehicle.”

He said passengers could choose to ride either directly or share a ride.

This would mean that if a person chooses to travel directly, the person would be charged reserved fare. While in ride sharing, the person can divide the cost with other passengers in the car. At the end of the ride, the passenger will receive a receipt for the payment. The app currently follows the rate provided by Road Safety and Transport Authority.

Nima Tshering said that a passenger could choose to pay in cash or through e-wallet services.

He added that the passenger would be able to rate the driver after a ride which would be reflected in the app. “When a person chooses a driver nearby, he or she can choose according to the star rating the driver has.”

YANA taxi app also delivers parcels.

Apart from the services for passengers, the app also has features to provide a reminder to drivers of vehicle insurance, license renewal and other details.

Rinzin Chophel said that the app also deducts a small amount from the amount earned by the drivers. “When a person chooses to stop driving a taxi, he or she will be provided the saved amount. It’s like a pension.”

Phurpa Lhamo