‘Uber’ for tricycles now live in Butuan City

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By Joel Pinaroc

A hailing app designed for tricycles is now “live” in Butuan City.

According to Dominga D. Mallonga, regional director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the Caraga Region, the mobile application called “Transeek” is now available for downloading and that about 50 tricycles in the city can now be hailed using the app.

Mallonga said efforts to expand the coverage of the service continues, noting that there is a need to update maps and databases so that more commuters can use the app.

“Once we map more areas, we expect more commuters and tricycles to use the app,” Mallonga said.

Mallonga further said for the expansion to continue, more tricycle drivers and operators should have smartphones. Although figures are not available, the number of smartphone users — as far as tricycle drivers in Butuan City are concerned — remain low.

The “Transeek” is a homegrown app developed by technology students and instructors from the Caraga State University in Butuan City. The application is very similar to the more popular hailing applications, as it also uses global positioning system or GPS.

The “Transeek” app can be downloaded from Google Play. The app is not yet available for Apple devices.

The creation of the app is a direct result of a technology incubation program led by the DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

Butuan City, designated as a first-class urbanized city, has a population of more than 330,000 as of the last census. Many depend on tricycles to get in and around the city.

The DOST-PCIEERD earlier said an app like “Transeek” is expected to ensure commuters’ safety as well as enhance tourism in Butuan City, which is part of Agusan Del Norte.

Hailing services have become popular in densely populated cities and urban centers, allowing commuters to directly “book” their rides just by using their smartphones. It is also deemed safer, although the price of the service may be higher than the usual fares, depending on factors, such as time of the day and/or location.

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