beat the asking price

beat the asking price

As a product of their semester-long project, the KU students came up with KTM Taxi Meter, an Android-based phone application that allows passengers to easily track and record the distance traveled in order to produce an estimate of the correct taxi fare. After claiming the first place in the software category in the 10th National Locus Technological Festival, this app has caught the attention of both, the public and the media.

Without a big picture in sight and encouraged by their project supervisor, Prakash Poudyal, the four students: Aawesh Man Shrestha, Anil Rai, Ayam Pokhrel, and Kripesh Siwakoti had decided to register for the Locus Festival the day before the actual event.“It was only a school project, we are only students” says Anil Rai, “We never expected it to get this big. We are grateful for the response we have gotten till now”.

While coming up with the idea for the app, the group focused on what the common people of Kathmandu needed, something practical and effective. They knew that something extravagant and overly sophisticated would be transient in a place like Kathmandu. Kripesh says, “We tried to make KTM Taxi Meter as user-friendly as possible, where all you had to do was turn the app on and off.” To use the app, one has to download Google Maps beforehand and when in the taxi, turn on the phone’s GPS and let it track the total distance in order for it to come up with an estimate. There is a popular video on YouTube demonstrating the procedure.

Such a large concept needed careful planning and dedication. It was the first time the third year students had tried android programming, and over time they faced challenges that discouraged them continuously. For instance, they weren’t sure of the feasibility of the app, whether it would work in a place like Kathmandu as using the internet would be a costly and unreliable idea. So, with the help?of their supervisor, they worked towards a satellite run program based on Google Maps. The group has successfully tested the app from Koteshwar to Kausaltar, Bhaktapur without any Internet.

However, Aawesh Man Shrestha admits that the real challenge comes now. Many people have yet to realize that this is still a project in its developmental stages, not in the implementation stage. There are more concepts being added to the app. The young group plans to make KTM Taxi Meter compatible for phones with iOS, Java, and Symbian softwares. They still haven’t implemented the waiting charge of the taxi, which is around 6.4 rupees for every two minutes of waiting. Additionally, the students want to incorporate an offline version of the city’s map onto the app itself.

The four friends see a bright future for the app. It is not money that they are after but the benefit the public will get from it. With this app, their goal is to be present in the market for years to come, and become a stable name in the technology world. “We have to understand the people of Nepal,” says Kripesh. “That is the way to success in this business,” adds Ayam. KTM Taxi Meter will be available soon in app markets for free.

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