In China, taxi passengers bid tips to secure a ride home
Booking a taxi can be an arduous process – cars may not be available, and if they are operators may drive a hard bargain, especially at busy times. While frequent cab users can take advantage of Taxmobil‘s monthly subscription service, those who wanting to use their spending power to ensure a ride home can now take advantage of China’s Didi Dache app, which gets passengers to bid a higher tip to increase the likelihood of securing a cab.
Users first sign up with a phone number and verify it, before booking a taxi. Through the app, passengers can select how long they’re willing to wait for a pickup as well as the tip they want to pay in increments of RMB 5, RMB 10 and RMB 20. If they’re not successful, they can go back and agree to pay a higher tip depending on how desperate they are to get to their destination. The app recognizes that customers may be willing to pay more in different situations and allows them to communicate this with their money. Drivers can use the app to load offline maps of their region as well as accept and deny customer requests. When a request is accepted, a code is sent to the customer and the driver has to fill this in to indicate that he has completed the pickup, helping inform a quality assurance system for passengers.
Didi Dache currently serves Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou, and comes in the form of two different Mandarin-only apps – one for drivers and one for travelers – both available on iOS and Android devices. Could this system enable consumers to let their money do the talking, or does it put power into the hands of taxi companies?