Mobile app takes on India's cheating tuk-tuk drivers

January 14, 2011
An auto rickshaw driver waits in a queue for his turn to get a refill with Compressed Natural Gas outside a gas station in New Delhi. An Indian company has developed a mobile phone application that allows consumers to calculate what fare they should pay for a journey -- rather than the often inflated amount demanded by drivers.

It could spell the end for cheating autorickshaw drivers in India, the scourge of commuters and foreign tourists alike.

An Indian company has developed a application that allows consumers to calculate what fare they should pay for a journey -- rather than the often inflated amount demanded by drivers.

MindHelix Technologies, a software company based in the southern Indian state of Kerala, has launched its TukTuk Meter application that uses (GPS) technology to calculate routes and their costs.

In India and other Asian countries, hiring an auto rickshaw or tuk-tuk for a short ride often leads to an exasperating argument over the price.

Meters are routinely tampered with to show higher rates per kilometre (mile) or are said to be broken, with foreign tourists in particular charged exorbitant prices at the end of their trip.

"Anyone with a GPS-enabled mobile phone can download the application for free and use it when they are travelling in public transport," said Kalidasan, chief of operations at Kochi-based MindHelix.

"No autorickshaw driver around the world can fleece you if have TukTuk Meter installed on your phone," added the mechanical engineering student, who uses only one name.

Kalidasan said the application can be used anywhere in India, even in remote areas, and only requires consumers to enter the starting fare used in their city.

The rate per kilometre is then calculated automatically, but the user can also change it manually.

"Users set the base rate that differs in every city, and the software will then provide the accurate fare and the distance travelled," Kalidasan told AFP.

Several Indian states conduct workshops for autorickshaw drivers to train them to be polite and honest in their dealings with clients, while police launch occasional crackdowns.

Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit has said she would like to ban the city's distinctive green and yellow tuk-tuks, but millions depend on them as a generally cheap form of transport in the congested city.

Explore further: Future looks sunny for Bangkok's tuk-tuks

Related Stories

Future looks sunny for Bangkok's tuk-tuks

June 29, 2010

Prapai Hemsuwan gunned the engine of his emerald green three-wheeler, sending it into a fit of rasping coughs and causing clouds of black smoke to belch into the air.

Getting Lost Becomes A Thing of the Past

July 15, 2004

Getting lost in strange towns and cities or trying to find the right way to a particular destination is no longer a problem thanks to new navigation software that provides 'on the move' information for drivers and pedestrians ...

Java Mobile Phones Find the Way – New Mobile Navigation

December 6, 2005

Java-enabled mobile phones are becoming mobile pathfinders. VDO Dayton has become the first supplier to launch a navigation system for cell phones that feature the widely used programming language Java. Navigation solutions ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected

February 20, 2018

Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace ...

Augmented reality takes 3-D printing to next level

February 20, 2018

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work.

What do you get when you cross an airplane with a submarine?

February 15, 2018

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed the first unmanned, fixed-wing aircraft that is capable of traveling both through the air and under the water – transitioning repeatedly between sky and sea. ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (2) Jan 15, 2011
Now if they could come up with an app for US taxi drivers taking visitors for scenic/expensive city tours.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.