Despite courting some controversy, there’s no denying that taxi apps have become big businesses across major cosmopolitan cities, and in the process, turning entrepreneurs into tech billionaires. And with global population and technology advancing at a rate of knots, there’s no sign of the sharing economy slowing down any time soon.
The world of commercial taxi operators was ripped apart due to the sheer magnitude of this trend when taxi mobile apps were introduced in Nigeria. The disruption of these apps are fundamental for existing business models and traditional taxi operators in Lagos, and across major cities across the world that are now struggling to adequately respond to this phenomenon.
These 'new kids on the block' leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT), are presently disrupting a traditional system that has been in place for decades; a failing system that has inevitably allowed for unregulated hikes in cab fares in metropolitan cities like Lagos.
The use of mobile apps has improved the taxi-hailing process and inspired thousands of entrepreneurs to have a re-think about their current business set-ups. Employing these disruptive technologies has aided the shift from the service economy to the sharing economy.
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The taxi apps are targeted at individuals who have style, elegance, class and are tech savvy. Their selling points are Value for Time, Value for Money and Convenience. Customers can facilitate payment using the app on their mobile device while they wait for the taxi to arrive as they monitor it real-time on their smart phone. The apps also offer the convenience of selecting preferred pick-up locations and destinations.
“I fell in love, but she wasn’t there to pick me up. So I took a taxi.” ― Jarod Kintz, 99 Cents For Some Nonsense
Uber Technologies Inc., considered to be one of the fastest-growing companies globally, allows users to summon a ride on their smartphone. For Uber, it’s all about style and budget, from SUVs to exotic saloon cars. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through mobile apps, they make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. Uber was founded in 2009, and up till date has been launched in over 200 cities today, including Lagos, Nigeria where they started their trial service around July 2014. Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer.
2. Easy Taxi
Easy Taxi is an on-demand car service whose mobile app connects taxi drivers directly to passengers enabling them get more rides. Created in Nigeria in 2013, the service is also present in over 27 countries. The app lets you hail a licensed taxi in just one click and boasts of being convenient, faster and operates on a system that runs 24-7.
AfroCab was founded in 2012, to facilitate better transportation services in some of Nigeria’s growing cities. Their free smartphone app connects passengers directly with taxi drivers allowing customers to book with certainty every time. Afrocab enables better transportation modes and places pricing for the service in the hands of the customer, while improving productivity for drivers – taxi drivers, car hire companies and private drivers.
Kabukabu lets you enter the nearest pick up point to your home and office while the system matches with two other co-riders travelling on the same route. You also get to share the cab to your final destination and pay up to 70% less than normal taxi fares.
Uber and the likes allow for reliability, convenience, security, affordability and timeliness
These apps offer a multi-pronged disruption
With innovation coming to mobile and location enabled apps, it is swiftly doing away with every single reason of why you would want a regulated taxi industry:
Security: every driver is known and every car is tracked with an app like Uber. Hard to see what could go wrong.
Reputation: give a driver a 3 star rating on Uber and their customer service call message to understand what happened. It’s a real time meritocracy.
Certainity: every Uber driver can track their car in real time. It creates a commitment on both sides that the ride is real and lets you know when your car will stop by the front door. Peace of mind for both parties.
Civility: It takes no more than introducing yourself with first names to create a bonding relationship with a driver. “Hi Jerry, I’m going to La Mango at Ikeja." “No problem, Ebuka”. This is where the likes of Uber transcend the functional to truly change the experience.