As of next year, all registered taxis will be obliged to accept credit and debit cards as a valid payment method. In the next few days, the proposed bill that incorporates this technology will be sent to the BA City Legislature as part of the Transit and Transportation Code.
The Ministry of Transportation announced the plan, as part of a comprehensive scheme to modernize the taxi sector throughout the City in 2019. Juan José Méndez, Secretary of Transportation for Buenos Aires City, told La Nación that it aims to “make a leap in quality service and provide greater transparency to the users.”
He also added: “We are working together with the taxi organizations to participate in this technological renovation.” Additionally, he estimated that the technology will be ready to be implemented within a year.
Moreover, another aim incorporated within this scheme is to encourage more women to get behind the wheel. Out of the 39,417 registered taxi drivers on the road today, only 736 are women. To increase this number, the Buenos Aires City government is expected to generate 2,000 more jobs for female drivers.
Méndez conveyed: “Together with the female leaders and the different unions, we will organize training sessions so that women can become professional drivers and have a job almost immediately.” Essentially, after a ten-day training, women will be able to drive the vehicles left idle due to staff turnover.
“The BA Taxi application will have a filter so that users can choose their driver. This gives them greater physical autonomy over the level of security they have, and at the same time generates economic autonomy, not only because of the financial independence and the flexibility that allows women this work that provides, but also because it breaks the stereotype that is not a task for them,” the Secretary of Transportation added.
The modernization plan will also mean two separate apps for both private and official radio taxis. Conclusively, users will know who they are traveling with, making it a more secure platform and mode of transport.
Today, about 17 percent of passengers request journeys through radio taxi companies: 79 percent flag down a cab on the street, while 4 percent book it through an app. The sector revamp seeks to encourage more people to use the latter as reliable way to book a journey. This way, the passenger requesting a taxi via the app can trust that all the drivers and vehicles meet the safety conditions required by the City; i.e. have a driver’s license, insurance, etc.
With Uber taking a lot of the taxis’ clientele, this could be steps in the right direction to try and keep many of the locals in their current jobs – but also, promoting more jobs and diversity within the taxi world.
- There are 37,000 taxis that comprise the Buenos Aires City fleet.
- Around 14,000 vehicles are registered as radio taxis.
- Currently, about 17 percent of passengers request a service through radio taxi companies. 79 percent of trips are taken directly off the street and only 4 percent are requested through an application.
- All taxi drivers are registered in the Single Taxi Registry (Rutax).
- 5 years is the average age of the vehicles. In 2007 it was 7.5 years.
- 100 percent of the vehicles have air conditioning.
- 80 percent of taxis operate on gas.