Cebu-based taxi hailing app expands fleet

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Sunday, July 6, 2014


FROM only 60 partner taxis in Cebu when it started, taxi-hailing app miCab has grown its fleet to 200.

Eddie Ybañez, miCab co-founder and developer, told Sun.Star Cebu in a recent interview that the team is also planning to expand in other areas in Visayas and Mindanao, with negotiations currently ongoing among taxi operators in different areas.

In Cebu, miCab partnered with Ken Taxi. The official said it will follow the same strategy for its expansion, partnering only with one taxi operator per area to ensure quality and safe service to passengers.

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Along with its growth, Ybañez diclosed that it has restructured the old miCab app launched in September last year. The team came up with a new version of the app in May in response to the need for a better business model.

Apps downloaded before May, he said, are no longer functional.

Ybañez said the P5 taxi booking fee that they used to charge before cannot sustain the business. The team has decided to adopt advertising as revenue source.

Taxis using miCab have been installed with tablets. The tablets will be used by the driver to receive bookings and at the same time display advertisements from different advertisers.

“We display advertisements but we removed the audio because passengers might find it noisy,” he said.

At present, Globe Telecom, NgKhai Development Corp. and Castle Peak Hotel are miCab’s advertisers.

MiCab used to deploy cellphones to that drivers but Ybañez said this presented problem on bookings since taxi drivers sometimes bring the phones at home, causing the next taxi driver of the same taxi unit to not get bookings.

Booking fee for miCab is at P10. The number of downloads of the new version in Google Play has reached 600, he said.

The restructuring of the new miCab took two weeks, done between the months of April and May. The previous miCab app took them several months to develop.

In the middle of this month, Ybañez said the new miCab will be launched but those who are interested to avail themselves of the new version can already download it in Google Play. Offline taxi booking is also being offered through SMS.

Ybañez said miCab can accept more advertisers when they launch.

Taxi fleets that are part of miCab will also have a built-in Internet connection, which passengers can connect to, he said.

By the end of the year, Ybañez said miCab is eyeing to have 600 taxi units in Cebu under Ken Taxi.

They are also looking forward to expand in Manila then to Southeast Asia in the near future. He said the booking fee of miCab can compete with existing taxi booking apps.

A few days ago, Grab Taxi launched its service in Cebu. Officials announced that starting September this year, they will charge a booking fee of P25.

Malaysia-founded Grab Taxi is already in Metro Manila, Malaysia. Bangkok and Singapore.

With the full integration coming next year, Ybañez said the locally developed app miCab can easily enter and expand in Southeast Asia.

MiCab will be available for download in App store and Windows soon, Ybañez said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 07, 2014.

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