We not only move between destinations, but also create trustworthy, reliable, and accompanied affection.
Combining Academics and Technology, Trying to Transform and Innovate
Taiwan Taxi Academy Association is a platform constructed by taxi drivers and academics for learning. Through the academic achievement and the energy from the industry, the Association equipped the drivers with professional skills, enhanced the intercommunication and sharing within the community, proceeding to elevate the overall quality of transporting service. It also uses taxis as mobile devices to provide multiple and innovative services, enabling the drivers to transform into social helpers.
Established in 2015, the Association now has over a hundred drivers providing services throughout Taiwan. It is distinct from typical taxi dealers utilizing cooperation, instead of employment. Members built up personal images to polish the significance of their jobs, which cultivated them from the workforce of transportation to suppliers of service, literally. Furthermore, it organized sessions to change the public image of taxi drivers. It helped the underprivileged minority that carried out the positive energy and spaces of mutual social good.
Sheng-zong Hou, secretary-general of the Association and director of the Graduate Institute of Public Affairs and Social Innovation of Feng-Chia University, is an adjunct professor of the Graduate Institute of Technology, Innovation, and Intellectual Property Management of National Cheng-Chi University. With the profound experiences, professor Hou, who has a concept of governing and benefit the people, eloquently stated the college's vision and goals. "We hope that taxi drivers across Taiwan will have a precious corner where they can rest and learn while driving. By accommodating drivers, transforming the city, and sharing a good society, we hope to reverse the old public perception of drivers, and build a blessed city of common goods! "
▲The professor leads the group discussion and shares experiences. With the youngsters, they create more sparkles, and a new attempt for network marketing emerged.
Managing and Driving are the Same. Both of These Require Human Resources
The Association faced lots of challenges, although the initial motivation is positive. "In the beginning,k the capital came from start-up projects and funds of competition hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Most of the time, we had to take care of the finance. Fortunately, we then applied for Empowering Employment Program (EEP) launched by Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Ministry of Labor (MOL). Subsidies from the program helped to resolve the dilemma of the human recourses, which then allows us to reach multiple targets. More energy is also invigorated. It's good to see the young generation engaging in innovation and execution, especially it's an industry populated by a group of people aged 50 on average. Being distant from the destination, though, Hou showed great perseverance in insisting on his belief.
The human resources subsidized by EEP assist the organization in establishing the technical team, from organizing the official website, collecting photographs, and building spaces on social networks such as Facebook, Line, and Youtube. Almost a hundred taxi drivers created their channels/accounts and issued publicity films on the platforms mentioned above. With media promotion, the Association successfully defined its target customers and leaped out significantly.
Free training, field trips, and all kinds of benefits, these approaches boosted the willingness to join the Association. At the same time, this also solved problems occurs when drivers work alone. Upon receiving the benefits, taxi drivers also need to take part in the "one for one" project; in other words, every chartered car purchase will come with a free ride for the underprivileged minority as social feedback, which is also a win-win strategy.
▲The local taxi league provides the staff with training courses and embraces more people to join the Association and exchange experiences.
A Ride to Your Heart
The experiences from multiple identities remind Professor Hou of the significance of sustainability. This feeling is more reliable than experiences of positions in any other non-profit organization. He set up a social enterprise called "Taiwan Mini Trip" (Tripbaa Travel Agency Co., Ltd.) that plays the role of business development. This agency hosts training sessions and manages a chartered service platform. Taxi drivers of the Association would increase income by joining this platform once they finish the courses and receive certification and recommendations issued by the agency. Aside from the training, the platform organizes various tours, including picnics, theme trips, and recreational outings…etc, to meet the needs of different customer groups. The agency then invests the organization with 30% of its total profit generated via Tripbaa to support its operation, thereby creating a mutually beneficial cycle.
The Association adopts other strategies. One of its platforms, called "Jobus," acts as an interface that is featuring Carpool service as well as selling tickets, which has been performing well in recent years. "…to expand income resources is crucial indeed. We take advantage of technologies to lower rates of cabs in waiting, raise cabbies' income, and cut down customers' expenses; this is the way we carry out our social responsibilities." In other words, the operation takes the economy, environmental protection, services, and technology into consideration. Professor Hou has been sketching the blueprint for a long time.
Being an Academy, though, the Association cares more about the practical operation other than classroom sessions. They believe to redefine the service attitude and actions is to put yourself in others' shoes. The Association organizes 3-4 outing events annually, providing social services to groups like disabled, seniors, new immigrants, and social welfare institutions, which assembled almost 300 taxi drivers to join in. Take the free shuttle service for the 2018 Yilan Green Expo as a successful example. Cabbies provide shuttle services to Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation as a way they accompanying participating elderly activities. These incredible records are all voluntary services.
More than 50 members provided free shuttle service for the 2018 Yilan Green Expo.
Ready for the Future
"Currently, there are more than 90 thousand taxi drivers. In the future, the technology must be much advanced than ever, unemployment is predictable." Thinking about the inevitable innovative tides might strike, those who are not using 3C well or having trouble finding core value of their services must endure the high impact brought by the unstoppable trends of autonomous cars and taxi call-up apps.
Therefore, the Association prepared for the social changes already. It proposed the concept "Replace the roads with the Internets, assist the call taxi service with chartered rides" to upgrade the taxi industry, since "to serve" is their motto. No matter what happens, competitiveness always depends on your value. "Although we are trying our best to enhance this industry, there are still rooms we can't reach. Since the impact of technological development is a national issue, we are willing to give the government a hand, to be the most reliable backing force to the taxi drivers by using academic research and plausible operation."
From building brand identity, uninterrupted training sessions, and setting up the value of services, the Association is ready to transit into a research institute in the next stage. It plans to a professional institution of certification and vocational training and develops various pick-up services. The Association hopes to shorten the distances between every individual and leave beautiful sceneries in customers' minds with the goals of mutual assistance, co-exist, and shared prosperity.
Case story : Empowering Employment Program
Interviewee: Sheng-zong Hou - Taiwan Taxi Academy Association
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please attribute this article to “Workforce Development Agency, Ministry Of Labor.”