Davao cabs accept ATM paymentsBy Germelina Lacorte
You are in a hurry to get to work, hail a taxi and realize too late that you didn’t have cash.
No problem. You can pay the cab using your credit or automated teller machine (ATM) card.
The scene is not from the future. It is happening now in the city with the recent launch of taxicabs equipped with machines that accept ATM or credit cards to pay.
The Mabuhay Taxi, which owns a fleet of taxicabs here, has started deploying units with these machines with the help of two of the biggest networks of ATM machines in the country—Megalink and Bancnet.
Mabuhay became the first taxi company to adopt cashless transactions in the country.
At least 20 units were deployed initially. These had been fitted with wireless payment terminals.
Ryan Tan, Mabuhay assistant manager, said the company wants to install such terminals in all of its units within three years.
Reaction by commuters was favorable, he said.
“On the first day alone, 15 people tried using the machine even before it was featured in the news,” he said.
The cashless taxi ride is made possible by a partnership between Mabuhay Taxi, one of the city’s largest taxi companies, and China Bank.
Tan said point of sale (POS) terminals connect to the Megalink and Bancnet systems using the General Packet Radio Service system.
The same system is used by telecommunications companies so it works where there’s a cellular phone signal.
“It’s like paying in cash,” he said. “Today almost everyone has an ATM card, and people are already familiar with POS transactions in stores and boutiques. Why not taxis?”
“It’s safe and convenient to use ATM and debit cards to pay for goods and services. There is no minimum payment for cab fares. Even if it is below P100, the transaction will still be processed,” said Joselito Crisostomo, branch head of China Bank Davao-Lanang, in a statement.
In another statement, Bancnet executive vice president Aris Zafra said he hoped that other taxi service companies follow Mabuhay’s lead. “We believe that the Davao market is advancing so fast, it is ready for this kind of technology,” said Tan.
Mabuhay Taxi, which operates at least 200 taxi units, was founded in 1994 and had introduced other innovations.
On June 22, Mabuhay equipped some of its units with global positioning system devices that allows its dispatching center to monitor where the units are at any time of the day.
Inside the Mabuhay central computer monitor, the computer operator only has to type the address given by the passenger on the phone and the system tracks down the nearest Mabuhay unit in the area. The operator would then tell the driver to fetch the passenger. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao