Lakhor, a new ride-hailing app to bridge gap between commuters and taxi operators

A group of students of the Gyalpozhing College of Information Technology, known as DigiOps, in collaboration with local taxi operators, launched a new ride-hailing app named Lakhor in Thimphu, today. With hopes to emulate the success of popular mobility platforms like Grab or Uber, Lakhor aims to bridge the gap between taxi operators and passengers while offering convenience and efficiency.

The developers said that the app functions similarly to popular platforms like Grab or Uber where users simply input their destination, review available vehicles and prices, select their preferred option, and confirm the pickup. Drivers can see and accept ride requests. Before commencing the trip, both driver and rider can verify each other’s identities and destination through an OTP.

“Real-time geolocation tracks the passenger as well as the driver of their whereabouts. For the P2P payment system, we are working with the bank, so that there will be easy payment transactions for passengers and drivers. For easy ride booking, we have convenient booking solutions where you can book taxis from the comfort of your home or office,” said Kuenley Tshewang Dendup, app developer.

However, with two ride-hailing apps being launched in the past and not gaining traction, taxi drivers had mixed reactions on the new app.

“Whether it’s passengers or drivers, there are people who are literate and there are those who are not. It might be a little difficult for them,” said Thinley Dorji, a taxi operator.

“I feel like it will be a little difficult at first, for someone illiterate like me. But if people keep using the app, I’m sure they will get the hang of it and benefit everyone in the long run,” said Pema Thinley, another taxi operator.

“When these youth come up with ideas, it is important for us to support them. Instead of criticising their work, we have to give them useful feedback and suggestions. It would also benefit them if the government could support them financially, even if it’s not a lot of money,” said Lobzang Dorji, also a taxi operator.

“The developers say that they will work full time, even planning to set up a proper office to manage the app. When they say they will be dedicated to improving the app and fixing issues, I feel like it’s going to be better this time,” said Lobzang Dorji, a taxi operator.

The app developers said that they are aware of the ride-hailing applications that were introduced in the past and that they have their own approach to make it a success.

“We have dedicated experts working on the app. We will have 24/7 support and even integrate AI chatbots to help users with their grievances,” said Kuenley Tshewang Dendup, app developer.

The developers plan to closely monitor the app’s performance during its initial phase before a full-scale launch next month. The app will be available on both iOS and Android devices from next week.

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