The NE Taxi app, Photograph courtesy: NE Taxi website

The NE Taxi app, Photograph courtesy: NE Taxi website

The Seven Sister states of Northeast India are on the bucket list of every traveler, but the biggest challenge for them is accessibility. Dense jungles and tall mountains make it difficult to navigate the Northeast, and tourist taxis can be a hassle to find and book for a competitive rate. All that is about to change with a newly developed app called NE Taxi, which has recently been launched on the Apple and Google app stores. ALSO READ: 7 Lakes of the North East that are worth a visit! Also Read - Meet Meaidaibahun Majaw, A 9-Year-Old Shillong Girl Who Has Just Developed An Anti-Bullying App

For those who are planning their first Northeast India trip or exploring new parts of the region, the NE Taxi app aims to make it easier to find a taxi. It lets you book trips on the app and website up to a year ahead. You can book a minivan or car for single or round-trip outstation rides, or rent one for sightseeing throughout the day. Packaged itineraries are also available, connecting West Bengal and the eight states of Northeast India. Customers get driver details on the spot to avoid overbooking. Also Read - Trade Bodies in Northeast Hail Union Budget 2020 as Pragmatic And Positive

The app is the brainchild of 23-year-old Rewaj Chhetri, an entrepreneur who identified the huge gap between travelers and drivers. The drivers are all screened and can converse in Hindi and English, according to Chhetri. Right now, there are 800 vehicles in the fleet, and you can book cabs to get to 65 destinations. More than 15 lakh bookings have been made so far. Word-of-mouth has been the biggest driver for Chhetri’s service, and most of the customers are families hailing from Gujarat and Maharashtra. A new NE Share option to pool rides aims to attract solo travelers as well. Also Read - Citizenship Act Protest in Bengal: Dissenters Torch Railway Stations in Murshidabad And Howrah

NE Taxi was founded in 2013 as a tour guide service provider by Chhetri, a forestry student at the University of Gangtok at the time. He soon found out how much travelers relied on taxi drivers for guiding them through the region. Identifying an opportunity, he changed NE Taxi from a tour guide service to a cab aggregation service, allowing travelers to reach out and hire screened taxi drivers. It started with just six cabs in Shillong. NOW READ: 35 reasons why a visit to North-East India is a must in every photographer’s bucket list!

In 2014, the website was launched. And the app launched in August 2017. Last year, NE Taxi also began a partnership with Impulse, an NGO, to combat human trafficking. Under the partnership, drivers are being trained to contact the closest police station through the app in case they find something suspicious about their passengers.