Horror stories about the modus operandi of errant cab drivers abound in social media.
Commuters relate in the social networking sites their experiences with preying cab drivers.
They report the same scenario: the spritzing sound of a spray can, the smell of the chemical, dizzy passengers get robbed.
Worst things have been reported in police records.
To the rescue: the mobile application PasaHero.
HOW IT WORKS. The app is available to all smart phones and can be downloaded from the IOS App Store and Android Google Play.
The user can log in using his Facebook and Twitter accounts, or email address.
The user can include up to five names of emergency contacts who can determine his location via SMS (short messaging system or text).
When the user gets on a cab, he clicks the “Begin” button.
He then chooses the type or mode of transportation from the choices on the mobile’s screen.
He types the plate number and the color of vehicle.
He can even upload the photo of the driver or the vehicle.
The details of the vehicle will then be automatically uploaded onto social media sites.
In case of emergency, the user clicks the “Panic” button and a text message will be sent immediately to the emergency contacts.
The phone will also record the audio and video in the next five minutes from the time the Panic button is pressed.
The application also has the ability to tract the entire travel to make sure the passenger arrives safely to his destination.
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT. PasaHero was launched by ABS-CBN at the ELJCC Building at its compound in Quezon City last February 3, 2014.
The app was developed by the ABS-CBN Digital Media Division and ABS-CBN News in cooperation with the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
The project's corporate partners are the taxi booking app Grab Taxi and the carpooling app Tripid.
At the PasaHero launch, government officials and corporate partners signed the declaration of commitment to promote the safety and security of the public.
ABS-CBN Digital Media Division head Donald Lim said “Yun lang ang mind-set namin, to make it safe for people when they go around."
He reported that as of last week there had been 20,000 downloads, making PasaHero one of the most downloaded apps in the app store.
Lim also shared what a friend told him, that riding the plane feels safer than getting a taxi.
“If you think about it, sometimes it’s true,” Lim validated.
LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez related that he downloaded the app on his phone sometime in November to test it and, according to him, it worked.
He said that the app is very timely, following the spray scare late last year.
Ginez added that his agency has suspended a number of cab franchises that were named in the reports.
For LTO Executive Director Attorney Emiliano Bantog Jr., the mobile app is a handy deterrent to traffic violators.
He pointed out, “Who would police the streets better than the people who are there, who are on the streets, who are riding the land transportation vehicles?”
He added that LTO does not have the manpower for city-wide apprehension of violators but with the help of PasaHero, ordinary commuters can conduct “no-contact apprehensions” by reporting traffic violators.