Breaking the monopoly: Taxify’s approach to ride-sharing
After Taxify launched in Sydney, Marilin Noorem spoke with Intelligent Transport about Taxify’s approach, challenges and future targets for the public transportation industry…
How is Taxify’s approach to ride-sharing/ride-hailing different from its competitors’? What impact is it having on the public transportation industry?
Taxify is an IT platform connecting drivers and riders. Every driver who uses Taxify to receive rides pays a 15 per cent commission per trip; up to half the commission taken by Uber and other ride-hailing platforms. The lower commission allows Taxify to offer lower prices for riders and more take-home pay for drivers. The service also allows drivers to create a defined radius for pick-ups, meaning they have the choice of how far they stray from home.
Happier drivers means a better quality service for riders. We believe in treating drivers with respect; allowing them to earn more than they would if working with other platforms and providing a range of safeguards and features that help them work in the way that suits them best. We aim to provide exemplary customer service to riders, with a 24-hour fully-staffed customer service line and the option to pay in cash (in some markets).
By improving the user experience and creating social value, Taxify strives to build an open, efficient and sustainable transportation ecosystem. With millions of customers using the platform, the company continues to utilise their data and artificial intelligence technologies to become the most efficient transportation provider in the region.
Ultimately, Taxify aims to have every person needing a ride waiting no more than a couple of minutes to get a car, regardless of their location in the city. At the same time, Taxify wants drivers to spend more time with passengers in their vehicles and less time driving an empty car.
What challenges did you face going into the Sydney launch?
Every market is unique in its own way. We have a local team in every country helping to really understand the market and its needs. For Sydney, there were no complex operational challenges as we have a very good value proposition and people were in need of a quality alternative in the ride-sharing market.
On a human level, the most challenging part for HQ expansion team (in Tallinn, Estonia) was the 9 hour time difference. Taxify is unique in its expansion strategy: we hire people and manage everything via online channels. It is only for the biggest launches, such as Paris and Sydney, that a few people from HQ fly out to assist launch week. On the other hand, our HQ team has never been to Nigeria or Kenya, the top 2 and top 3 African markets of Taxify.
What are the key factors in deciding where Taxify operates?
There have been two strategies. Firstly, Taxify started expanding to big cities (with over 1 million residents), where the unemployment rate is high and public transport system relatively poor. Great examples of these markets are African cities where the Taxify service is needed to create jobs and allow driver-partners to earn more, whilst riders can benefit from more affordable rides.
Another strategy has been entering well-established markets as a second wave and breaking the monopoly with better conditions for both drivers and riders. Good examples here are Paris and Sydney.
After the initial problems with the London launch has there been any more progress to attempt London again?
We are in the process of applying for a new license. We hope to be operational again in a few months.
Where do you see Taxify in five years?
Ride-hailing is only 2 per cent of urban transport in most cities around the world today. Taxify is one of the leaders in making private drivers more affordable and convenient, in five years we plan to be a strong alternative to public transport and personal cars.