Motlati Mkalala, Head of Core Markets, Standard Bank.

Big Four bank Standard Bank says it plans to work with more taxi associations and owners to increase the national footprint of its Taxi Yam cashless payment solution.

This comes after the bank extended the decision to 10 taxi associations in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) earlier this month.

Consisting of a mobile app and card, Taxi Yam aims to simplify taxi payments for passengers and drivers, says Motlati Mkalala, head of core markets at Standard Bank.

In addition, it allows passengers to plan their monthly transportation budget and pay the exact amount for a taxi ride without having to stop to withdraw money.

To get started, the customer downloads the app and registers with it, Mkalala tells ITWeb.

At taxi stands where Standard Bank works with various associations, agents are stationed to help customers with the registration process, after which they are issued a Taxi Yam card that will be linked to the app, he explains.

The customer then uploads their taxi money to the app so they can make payments to the taxi. Taxis are then equipped with point-of-sale (POS) machines for tap-in convenience. The driver carries a phone connected to the POS machine.

“Taxi Yam is a complete mobility platform that will help taxi owners and drivers connect and interact with passengers,” says Mkalala.

“Our aim is for the app to become a trusted part of the public transport system in South Africa and improve the lives of passengers, drivers and owners.”

Statistics SA’s 2020 National Household Travel Survey shows 10.7 million people used taxis, with taxis accounting for the majority of public transport work trips.

According to Mkalala, the bank initially tested the cashless solution in KwaMashu and Umhlanga in KZN with two taxi associations from April 2021.

After he was satisfied with the results of the proof of concept, Mkalala says the bank decided to launch the solution from September 5 to 7 in KZN.

“The taxi associations, owners and drivers from the associations we work with are well aware of the solution. For the solution to work, we also need to connect the owner and his taxis, including taxi drivers. We are going through a registration process to add owners and their fleet of taxis to the system.

“Our approach to expanding our national footprint is to work with associations and get their buy-in for the Taxi Yam solution before it is deployed by passengers and drivers for use in taxis. This approach guarantees us on-the-ground support from industry decision-makers.”

The bank has received an “excellent” response since the launch, he says. “We’ve seen it in the number of customers we’ve taken on and the usage of the app and cards.

“The card and application are not limited to use in taxis. It is a debit card and customers can use it at any store just like any debit card. Even if you don’t have a Taxi Yam app or card, you can still use any other bank card to pay for a taxi.”

Taxi Yam will be adding various features as it rolls out. For example, it allowed customers to log in and register using their mobile numbers instead of an email address, he points out.

“Future plans also include updating Taxi Yam to alert you when taxis are not available, provide information about traffic accidents and tell you what the taxi fare is on a new route.

“The team is also working on a feature that will allow you to find and call a taxi when you are in a hurry. And with more information about passengers and their routes, taxi associations can begin to analyze the data and make more informed transport decisions.”

Standard Bank’s Taxi Yam app is available on both Android and iOS.

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