Paris Taxis, the app of the City of Paris: “it doesn’t work, so I gave up”, Stéphane, taxi craftsman

by bold-lichterman

Replacing the physical taxi reservation terminals: this is the objective of the application Paris Taxis launched in early October by the City of Paris. It was also a way for the City to support taxis in their fight against passenger vehicles with drivers (VTC).

“The city helps the Parisian taxis. This new service completes the support measures for Parisian taxis, voted by the Paris Council on September 30 ”can we read on the site of the City of Paris.

The application dedicated to customers indicates on a map of Paris the taxis available and their characteristics. The one dedicated to drivers tells them the number of customers waiting in a given station. It is open to everyone, self-employed or salaried. But unlike the VTC applications, Paris Taxis does not allow the user to book a taxi at a specific address. Drivers and users continue to have to meet at a physical terminal, as they do when the reservation is made by phone call.

“Taxis should be able to be geolocated everywhere and not just in stations where they spend less than 5% of their time!” regrets Laurent, a disappointed user.

Another difficulty noted: a little more than three months after its launch, the application is obviously not working correctly. Here are the screenshots of our various tests: when you download it, positioned in the very center of the capital, it is extremely rare to see more than a few taxis available throughout the capital at any given time.

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Stéphane M., independent taxi driver in Paris for 23 years, says:

“There is no colleague who told me to have taken a race by this application”

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The Town Hall designed this application to modernize the service. The reservation by this means should gradually replace that by telephone.

Another Parisian taxi driver, practicing for 10 years, points out:

“The development of new technologies, I am not against, but think of all those who do not have access to it”

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“They removed the terminals before this application was completely reliable” he regrets.

The company chosen to develop the application is the Lyon start-up Apps Panel. This initiative would have cost 112,671 euros to the City of Paris. “It’s a package of around 100,000 euros which includes both: the creation and implementation of 2 applications (client and driver) with 2 systems, IOS and Android, in French and English for the client version ( soon to be published); a Web page on Paris.fr; a API for Open data and other future developments ”we confirm to the City of Paris.

So in the end, how is this app used?

The City of Paris informs that the version of the application reserved for drivers has been downloaded 11,160 times, and the version dedicated to customers 10,572 times. “The users are rather Parisians” specifies the Town hall. But no information regarding the number of regular users is given. “For the moment, the people who downloaded the application have used it, but it is still too early to have an exhaustive list of active regular users” replied the City. Questioned in order to know why the taxi card remains almost empty, the Town Hall kicks in.

The capital has 17,636 taxis according to data published by the Prefecture from police. Downloading the application dedicated to drivers is only possible after entering an individual taxi driver’s permit number. Thus, a little more than 63% of Parisian taxi drivers would have downloaded the application. This indicates the desire of many drivers to open up to this modernization. As to how many of them use it regularly to find errands, a mystery.

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