Startup idea: Taxi hailing app for all open market cabs

Today we’ve had quite a huge discourse, but it’s less discourse and more me being told how I was wrong. Never really thought I would get my two or three tweets retweeted to create a hullabaloo. But it’s all good. I am pro-tech and pro-innovation. Something many people misunderstood.

My argument was not to justify the old school cabbies who are up in arms with the new sheriff in town, Uber, it was to make people see where these people are coming from. What they see that they feel the need to be defensive. Of course it’s a losing battle.

But this has brought forth an interesting angle, what can these people do to remain competitive? Or what can be done, even by a third party? It’s a free world, so it’s not a winner takes all scenario.

What options are available?
Startup develops a B2B solution that works just like Uber or even better, taxi owners plug in their taxis and each has a dashboard. Payments are done on the app or cash but tracked by the app, but you take your money home with you immediately. No holding your money since the startup providing this has already taken their cut for managing the transaction. We are all happy.

Old school guys remain competitive and we have a great environment where not even Uber or Easy Taxi can decide “we own the place so we charge what we want”. Free market wins. They can then white-label the solution for organized taxi companies who will also have a similar solution that faces their individual or corporate customers.

What do you think?

Like I was saying on Twitter, large Cab companies actual already have one big advantage over Uber, their drivers are their employees.

Uber’s drivers are independent contractors, they must be paid weekly (although @TheMacharia says otherwise). This makes it difficult for Uber to do corporate, because companies will usually combine all the trips and pay as a lump sum at the end of the month. Uber isn’t set up for this very well. Big Cab companies have no legal issues and they pay taxes. They also have greater control over their drivers (so the drivers can be trusted) even more advantages over Uber in the court of public opinion.

All they need to do is seal the loopholes in service provision that drive users to Uber. The pain points.

That was my idea as well when I saw the conversations about Uber on Twitter today.

What we should push for instead is a local company that uses an Uber like model & support it. India style.

— Wamathai (@Wamathai) January 25, 2016

A Kenyan app with a Kenya friendly payment modes including M-PESA, debit and credit cards would be a hit I think. For M-PESA, it would be best if the payments could be made in app as opposed to what Uber does (sending to the driver’s personal M-PESA account).

That’s actually the one way to kill two birds with one stone. Get innovative by the locals and also something for them by them. Locally made tech has a record of competing much more better than imported tech. Ask Mpesa.

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It’s a concept for an open source, universal ehailing platform. The idea is similar to Open311, a standardized platform for electronically submitting and tracking civic service requests. The protocol for Open311 is universal, so if someone writes an app for submitting reports in one city, in theory it can work anywhere that supports the Open311 protocol with only minor changes.

Similarly, an open e-hailing system could accept hails from a variety of sources. It’s not the city’s proprietary app, or a privately owned closed system like Uber or Hailo (Uber only works if the hailer and the cab are both using Uber. I’m not sure if the TLC has adressed this, or if cabbies who want to use Uber and Hailo are juggling two smart devices plus their meter and their GPS)

Requests could come from any OpenTaxi compatible app, and simple hail functionality could be built into any software application. Why stop there? We can make hardware devices for ehailing as well. As illustrated in the diagram, some sort of hailing button could be easily installed at concierge desks, payphones, kiosks, and lampposts. No smartphone? No problem! The devices would connect to the wireless data network and send an e-hail in the exact same way a smartphone app would, but without the phone.

We could also implement metering and electornic payments through OpenTaxi. There’s much more to discuss, but this diagram lays out the basic premise. If many cities adopt a standardized plaform, apps and hardware that support it become universal as well.

http://chriswhong.com/open-data/concept-for-an-open-source-e-hailing-platform/

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Interesting reading in the context of this discussion http://techcrunch.com/2016/01/18/why-big-companies-keep-failing-the-stack-fallacy/?ncid=rss#.bk0hydh:5TK0

consider what is happening to mature markets in the sharing economy:


As Uber grows in Kenya, the taxi companies may find that their only real asset is well managed cars. There potentially lies an opportunity in listing these cars on uber and focusing on user experience thus gaining reputation and some edge over individual driver.

I do feel for the established taxi companies and taxi operators/driver…but the convenience and ease that Uber provides plus its global reach is something to reckon.As a consumer,i will always go for cheap,affordable,reliable and easy to use services no time to worry about personal issues and disruptions faced by cab drivers.

@Martin, What you said is correct. The world has adopted with many technology, then why don’t traditional taxi business should deploy the system to automate their booking & dispatch operations. People doesn’t look up the surge pricing. They wanted to have an application to hail near by cabs easier than ever. You could probably uber clone application by joining your hands with established taxi owner which would create a big revel to Uber. See more about how much does it cost to develop an app like uber.

Uber is way ahead of this pack,they got apps in all platforms,they have google maps and cortana integration,they got Uberpool service in the wings waiting to disrupt the matatu industry,They have UberEats waiting in the wings to disrupt jumiafoods with restaurant deliveries…I see Uber changing the very real fabric of how the middle class,expatriates and tech savvy kenyans operate within the city.

Since my last post UberEats is now live in Nairobi,UberPoa and UberChapChap have been taking over the lower end market of the ride hailing/taxi business and have become a staple of moving around Nairobi and have become instant successes in Both Nairobi and Mombasa…Now all that is left is Uberpool,which if launched with A small fleet of Bus shuttles,can quickly disrupt the matatu industry.