Up until a couple of years ago, if you wanted a taxi – you hailed or phoned for one. Oh how times have changed.
GoCatch, ingogo, and uberTaxi are all smartphone applications which aim to take a slice of the pie in an industry which has been in need of disruption, and competition.
Since launching in 2011, Andrew Campbell, co-founder of GoCatch, says the app has gone from strength to strength. And they have no modest goals.
“We’re focused on taking market share of the Australian taxi industry – and it’s a very large industry!” Campbell told Dynamic Business.
Campbell said the reaction to GoCatch has been fairly aggressive from the vested interests in the taxi industry. “The regulators and the public understand that this has been a heavily monopolised industry for decades, that customer service levels have been atrocious, and the taxi industry hasn’t done itself any favours whatsoever,” he said.
“We’re bringing competition to an industry that desperately needs it and we’re improving safety, reliability, and service – not just for passengers, but for everyone including the drivers. The only people it’s not good for is the vested interests such as Cabcharge and the taxi networks,” Campbell added.
Born from frustration at the sheer difficulty in catching a cab, the way the app works has evolved somewhat since its inception.
In essence, passengers download the app and post a job, listing their pick-up location, destination, name and phone number. Drivers with the app installed can peruse listed jobs and choose to accept or decline – users can see how many drivers have seen the listing, and then watch their cab approach on the map.
To combat the inevitable cherry-picking of more expensive fares, GoCatch has a feature called GoPoints, which rewards drivers who take on shorter fares. By accumulating points, drivers are then graded bronze, silver, gold and platinum, with platinum drivers rewarded by receiving the more valuable jobs first as they come through.
Similarly, ingogo is a mobile app which assists customers to easily hail and pay for taxis. Founded by the team behind Moshtix, it allows passengers to communicate directly with registered taxi drivers in their local area, see when drivers are coming and where they are on a map, with the option to pay for rides using ingogo’s in-taxi payment terminals or virtual mobile accounts. It currently operates in Sydney and is in a limited pilot stage in Melbourne.
Also in the taxi apps market is recently launched uberTaxi. So keen is this app to make a splash that until midday on Friday 20th of September, users in Sydney who download the app will receive free local taxi rides up to the value of $30.