Cebuanos given alternative to book taxis through mobile phone
CEBUANOS now have an option to book taxis through a mobile phone without additional booking fees or surge pricing.
Developed by Eddie Ybañez, the Cebu-based app Micab was recently accredited by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) as a transport network company (TNC) last April 30.
“Eighty percent of the taxis in Cebu are with Micab. We have around 3,000 taxi units in Cebu that are already using Micab,” he told reporters in a recent press briefing.
App developed in 2012
The app was developed by Ybañez and Kenneth Baylosis during the Startup Weekend Cebu in 2012, long before other similar applications were in place. But it was only this year that Micab has aggressively expanded.
Aside from Cebu, they are also operating in Manila and in Baguio. They have around 5,000 taxi units in these three locations.
Ybañez, Micab CEO and founder, said what makes them different from other TNCs is that they do not charge passengers any additional fees.
This means whatever is reflected in the taxi’s meter will be paid by them.
Instead, the company earns from advertisements which are shown in the tablets that are provided in each Micab taxi. At the same time, they also charge P600 per month per taxi unit that are with Micab. This covers the provision of a tablet and 2 GB of mobile data a month.
The company recently aggressively advertised their operations in Manila where they now serve up to 10,000 passengers a day.
Less than 1K
In Cebu, they only cater to less than 1,000 passengers a day.
Ybañez said they hope to encourage more Cebuanos to patronize the homegrown application as an option and competition to other existing TNCs like Grab.
The application can be downloaded in the Playstore for Android phones and the App Store for iOS phones. Based on their data, Micab currently has around 90,000 users who have registered in the app.
In order to ensure quality service, Ybañez said they regular conduct training and orientation with taxi drivers on how to use the Micab services as well as how to properly treat passengers.
Incentives are also given by Micab to top performing taxi drivers who also get a share of the revenues from ads that the company gets.
Drivers are able to see the destination of users who book using the app. Although they can cancel, the taxi drivers are blocked by
the system for a day after three booking cancellations. Their star ratings will also be reduced. Not reaching a certain star rating would mean drivers will have to be re-trained.
At the same time, app users can also report incidents and problems they encounter with drivers.
In Cebu, Micab has partnered with several taxi operators that include Ken, Yoo, Airland, and Scorpion, among others.
“The reason why we developed Micab was to provide affordable rides. So we try our best that we don’t really have to impose booking fees, ever,” Ybañez said.
He added that they also have angel investors in from a group of businessmen in Cebu.Ken Taxi also invested P15 million into micab last December. The company is also doing fund raisers in other countries like Singapore.
It was only this year when Micab aggressively expanded its operations. Just last January, they only had 600 taxi units in Cebu. They only just started their operations in Manila and Baguio last month.
In April, they only had 20,000 users.Now it is at 90,000.
Ybañez said they target to have 15,000 taxi units in different parts of the country by end of this year.
Within the year, they also plan to further expand to other cities like Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Bacolod.
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