Ever Thought of Paying Taxi Fare Via SMS?

With more than 90 million cellular customers in Pakistan Telecom sector, 4.5 million landline users and 5 million internet users, 170,000 broadband users, we should now move beyond the basic telephony and internet services and start using these modern era communication means to further better our living standards.

We have started seeing SMS subscription based services offered by cellular companies, such as Zong Music Channel, Akhbar Service by Telenor, Telenor Music Box, Telenor Tele Doctor and so on….however, we lack the indulgence of such services in consumer products.

It would be very beneficiary, for instance, if I can order my burger from KFC by just sending an SMS, or if I pay my DSL bill through credit card (Very limited number of broadband companies offer online credit card based billing), or how about paying my taxi fare by sending an SMS?

I feel that we greatly lack in this segment, either our companies are not patched with latest solutions or our users are not that much aware…but my point lies in the fact that we, as a nation, had never thought of using cellular phones few years back, but now the scenario is different. Similarly, we never had though that the world would become a village before internet based networked world and Bill Gate’s windows based operating system.

Theory is that you offer the luxury, and if it makes some sense, soon it will become a necessity…leave the awareness part to the consumer. They will learn it themselves if your service has the potential.

We have examples around us, such as, Q-Cash in Abu Dhabi, a service through which users will be able to pay their taxi fare by sending an SMS, a system introduced by a famous taxi system working there. And there is no innovation involved in this, a very simple (but centralized) procedure is adopted. The said taxi company will introduce “Q-Cash Card”, with some credit in it (like we used to have in our calling cards), and you can send an SMS to a designated number to get your fare deducted from the card. This way, you can pay your fare without carrying cash and without worrying the change that you normally give away to taxi drivers.

Similarly, in coming days, operators can offer some extra out of our simple SMS services, such as, auto response, auto forward SMS…GSM packet based longer text messages and so on…We are already discussing mobile banking options, but now these projects are supposed to be taken to the ground…so we may get benefited of these.

Hope that cellular companies will think forward to bring in some innovations, rather than just shouting the number of customers or the dancing averts.

This article was first published on ProPakistani back in May 2008

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK