App simplifies hiring cab in Cebu-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
HAVING experienced firsthand the difficulty of finding a taxi, a team of three decided to come up with a solution to book taxicabs using a smartphone.
The team, composed of Eddie Ybañez, Kenneth Baylosis and Keith Levi Lumanog, will be launching this Monday MiCab, a smartphone app that works as a taxi dispatching service around Metro Cebu.
Ybañez cited common concerns commuters have in hailing taxicabs. He said certain hours make it difficult for commuters to find a taxi while those with hotlines can only serve a few callers. Many also have security concerns about riding in taxicabs, as they leave behind valuable items or have to text their family or friends the plate number of the unit just to have peace of mind. Some commuters have also complained about riding in old taxi units with defective air conditioning while still having to pay the same amount.
Those behind MiCab believe they have found a P5 solution to these problems.
MiCab allows a user to tap on their app and request for a taxicab. The app will locate available units within a two-kilometer radius and assign a taxicab to pick up the passenger.
The service allows the passenger to key in details about himself to help the driver recognize him. It also gives the passenger the option to cancel the booking or call the driver.
Drivers, in turn, are equipped with smartphones themselves and use the app to accept or ignore the request for a booking.
Ybañez said that once a driver has been booked, he cannot pick up other passengers and can only serve the one who requested a cab. The app records details that will allow the passenger to recognize the cab assigned to him and the operator to find out if the cab followed through on instructions. For using the service, a passenger pays a P5 fee in addition to the cab fare. After the passenger arrives at a destination, the app allows him to give feedback and rate the driver’s performance.
MiCab has teamed up with Ken Taxi as they currently have over 200 units that are one to two years old and are considered new. For now, they have equipped 60 units with smartphones, but the startup company hopes to have at least 200 units under the MiCab fleet. He added that operators recommend the most reliable drivers to be in on the MiCab fleet.
They charge the cab drivers P30 a day to pay for the smartphone and data load credits at cost. Ybañez believes P5 is a small price to pay for the convenience the booking brings to a commuter, saying a competitor in Manila charges P70 on top of the taxi fare.
He assured that the app is easy to use and that drivers will not have difficulty operating it as they will only have to go through a few steps—accepting a booking, getting a passenger’s exact location, logging on a passenger and unloading a passenger to the desired destination.
For now, MiCab is available for Android devices but they will soon be offering it for iOS and Windows devices next month.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 19, 2013.