Choices, choices, choices. 

Bangkok is getting a new taxi app that promises passengers safe rides by legit taxi drivers who also can’t refuse service to passengers. 

Howa International Co, the operator of Taxi Radio and Suvarnabhumi Taxi Cooperative, has invested B20 million to launch the HaHa Taxi App and digital meter terminal (DMT) to compete with local players Grab and Line Taxi. 

As reported by the Bangkok Post, the Land Transport Department is expected to announce a new regulation to let taxi drivers receive an advanced booking fee, with a ceiling price of B100, to eliminate denial of service to passengers. 

According to Hudsadin Eamsherangkul, deputy managing director of Howa, the company decided to invest in DMT and a traffic operations center to replace taxi radio services. 

Under existing radio systems, drivers are charged B6,700 for a meter and B20,000 for the additional radio tracking system, with a monthly fee of B500.

To be registered for the taxi booking app, drivers need to pass a background check for criminal records by the company. They also need to pay B3,500 in annual service fees and a one-time charge for the DMT, which costs around B30,000. 

The DMT is a digital display device comprising a meter and location tracking system that verifies taxi drivers working with the HaHa taxi app through an ID card reader. The display will show the driver’s name, photo, ID number, plate number, as well as distance traveled and taxi fares. Howa now has 500 taxis equipped with DMT. 

The HaHa app targets premium passengers in prime areas such as hospitals, department stores and five-star hotels, with a surcharge of B50 and an advanced booking fee of B150 for up to three hours in advance. 

Besides paying by cash, Howa has teamed up with Mastercard to use the Masterpass digital payment platform as an option for you to pay using your debit or credit card via the HaHa app, where your data will be stored in the Mastercard cloud. The HaHa app is claimed to be the first taxi booking app in Thailand to use the Masterpass digital payment platform. 

The HaHa Taxi App is now available for download on iOS and Android devices. To get started, simply sign up for an account with your name and mobile number, before getting an OTP sent to your phone and email to confirm your registration.