| Danial Norjidi |
BRUNEI Darussalam’s first taxi booking app, DART TAXI, was officially launched recently by the Minister of Communications, Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat.
Operated by DART Logistics Sdn Bhd, the app serves as an IT platform which offers a wide range of services, including ride booking and private hire, with the click of a button. It was launched during an event held at the Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd Headquarters in Gadong on May 5.
The prime objective of the initiative is to partner with local taxi operators and encourage them to use the DART smartphone app as well as increase the opportunities for locals and tourists to use taxis conveniently. Using the app, taxi operators can access passengers’ demands throughout day and night, while still utilising the mandated metered fares.
The philosophy of DART is to be able to travel around Brunei anytime while being safe and affordable, said Zul ‘Amali bin Dato Paduka Haji Idris, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DART Logistics Sdn Bhd.
“DART is a platform that offers solutions for many of the travel needs in Brunei. We need to fill in the gaps in everyone’s transport needs. You can find the same services that we are offering in our neighbouring countries; what we offer is about connecting people,” he said.
He pointed out that DART aims to be the most trusted transport option, while at the same time creating more jobs for locals and improving passenger experience.
“With a fare estimate available before their intended trip from the app, passengers can now know in advance the cost of the journey and how long the taxi will take to arrive at their doorstep,” he added.
He also mentioned that evolution of the market structure and new demands in Brunei’s transportation have pushed them to the creation of the app and it is not only limited to transport but also aims to enhance the efficiency of our daily routine.
The service was started last week, and the application can be downloaded via Apple App Store or Google Playstore.
During a briefing on the mobile application for taxi drivers recently, Dr Haji Supry bin Haji Awang Ladi, the Director of Land Transport shared that the application has seen 4,500 downloads and that 3,200 people have already registered. Among them, 1,800 are active users.
Since the app’s launch on May 5, 24 people have registered as taxi drivers and of them, six have their numbers registered and four are active drivers, he said, adding that the app has also created a new respectable career option for Brunei’s educated youths as tech-savvy taxi drivers.
“Many bookings have been made through DART, however, more than half of the bookings were unsuccessful to be carried out. This means we need more taxi drivers for the project to be successful. When there are more taxi drivers, more people will be interested in using the DART Taxi service,” the director said.
He affirmed that the application is beneficial not only for taxi owners but also drivers and passengers.
Dr Haji Supry noted that the metered taxi system was launched in Brunei last September, followed by the introduction of the Land Transport Department (JPD) taxi call service in October. Now, the call service has been suspended and is being replaced with the DART application.
Explaining the main requirements for applying to be a taxi driver (Class 12 licence) in a presentation, the director said the applicant must be a citizen or a permanent resident of Brunei Darussalam; they must be 21 years and above and not more than 70 years; they must have a Class 3 driving licence which is not less than a year old; and they must meet the prescribed health requirements.
Applicants are also required to pass the safety screening; pass the theory and practical test; have an excellent driving record; and be able to speak in Malay and English (ability to speak other languages will be an additional advantage).
Documents required from applicants are their original identity card and its copy; original licence and its copy; two most recent passport-sized photographs; health certificate; and a permission letter from employer (for part-timers).
The application begins with the filling in of the application form, presenting the form along with required documents, sitting for a course and the theory and practical test; payment for the Class 12 licence; registering vehicle as a taxi at the Motor Transport Licensing Authority (MTLA) and then the installation of the meter and taxi signage at appointed companies.
Endorsement and approval of applications will take 10 working days, while the course mentioned will cover topics such as taxi service overview and road safety; taxi rules and regulations; Kenali Negara Kitani (KNK: Places of interest, hotels, names of roads etc); customer service; and usage of DART taxi application and taxi meter, the director said.