Sidestep the ride-sharing intermediary with a chatbot
— Feb 9, 2017
The recent #deleteuber campaign on the social networks caused Uber’s main competitor Lyft to rise spectacularly in the app store rankings, but also called attention to a new mobility service, known as LibreTaxi.
Created by Roman Pushkin, this service puts customers directly into contact with rideshare drivers. The inventor, who is from Siberia, was looking for an alternative to traditional apps that don’t cover isolated areas.
LibreTaxi is an app that is part of Telegram, the encrypted Russian messaging app. Presented as a chatbot, it puts users and drivers in direct contact, without the intervention of a third-party platform and without a commission.
The user chats with the bot through Telegram and indicates his or her location, destination and desired means of transport. Next, the user is put in contact with a driver and can negotiate the fare directly. This fare is paid in cash.
LibreTaxi was strongly inspired by hacking culture, which is reflected in its preference for individuals rather than corporations, by its design, which is based on anonymity and has no regulations or checking of users, and by its open-source structure, which makes the app hackable and modifiable by anyone. Available in Apple and Android app stores, its only shortcoming is the language barrier. LibreTaxi is now available in English, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Indonesian, and Pushkin hopes to have it translated into Chinese and Persian to meet the needs of a broader user base.
LibreTaxi is an initiative based on hacker practices and the dark web, as well as blockchain technology, a decentralized system for transferring information that appeared with the Bitcoin. This technology is currently opening new ways to secure and authenticate information for banks, insurance companies and the legal profession.
We like: the idea of spreading open-source practices to the general public, an initiative that focuses on individuals and the absence of charging for a service or data associated to users.
We were inspired by: the generalization of chat bots in built-in apps to allow meeting the needs of users without the intervention of a third-party platform for establishing relations and use of the open-source approach to allow continuous improvement and modification for an increasingly fluid experience.
#chatbot #featured #humancentered #innovation #transport