The need to be bad enough (25/5/2016)

HK_Toyota_Comfort_Red_Taxi (1)

When I was reading newspaper and blog posting these few days, a lot of news have revolved around the subject of the first official “Taxi App” .  I am referring to these two articles in particular

Hong Kong cabbies seek to revamp image with taxi-hailing app amid rising competition – Rachel Blundy 22/5/2016 (SCMP)

實試 100% Call 的失敗 ! 的士業議會「的士 App」評測 + 司機專訪 – 23/5/2016 (Unwire)

I was quite surprised that the Taxi Council, a professional organization that represent the interest of the Taxi Industry of Hong Kong has launch such an app. I cannot understand why they are launching it now, since its not in their agenda to do so and the chance of failure of this app will be pretty high.

I am highly skeptical of the popularity of this app since

  • Most taxi drivers are middle age men who are not necessarily good in technology. Registering an account and actually using it might be a challenge for most people. If the drivers are not using it, no passengers will be using it since it will be useless to hail with a taxi app when there are no taxi to be hailed.
  • Most Hongkies are not comfortable with technology let alone using it on their mobile devices. Most Hongkies are also impatient and are always in a hurry. I suspect they would not be patient enough to use such an app.
  • The market is already flooded with Taxi hailing alternatives such as the Mainland backed Kuaidi, CallTaxi, Easy Taxi, HK Taxi…

Given such low

My conspiracy is that the Taxi Council is trying to develop a marginally usable app to discourage the use of technology in the industry. By making this app bad enough, users of the app will not be able to use it let alone reuse it in the near futures. These unpleasant experience will also result in the dist interest in the alternatives, since most people cannot differentiate one Taxi app to another, if one is bad, most Hongkies will assume all of them are bad. If the app is bad enough and the usage rate is low enough, they can use this as piece of evidence and prove that technology is ill prepared for Hong Kong’s taxi industry.

By proving this, they can apply pressure on the government to ban newer apps and market disrupters such as uber, lyft and all that western startup.

To download the app you can go to

Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.autotoll.taxiPassengers&hl=zh_HK

Contary to these useless apps, the one thing I really think would be useful would be an official location translator for Hong Kong. That is the user can pick a building or a street number in his/her mother tongue and utilize the translation function of the app to communicate with the driver or passerby to ensure there are no miscommunication. There are already apps for that, check it out

Hong Kong Taxi Cards – https://itunes.apple.com/hk/app/hong-kong-taxi-cards/id683353582?mt=8

Hong Kong Taxi Translator –  https://itunes.apple.com/hk/app/hong-kong-taxi-translator/id438401655?mt=8