Jakarta Globe, Vanesha Manuturi & Dion Bisara, Sep 15, 2014
|Easy Taxi allows users to hail the closest taxi via smartphone. |
(JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
Jakarta. Six months after launching operations in Indonesia, Easy Taxi, a cab-booking mobile application, has recruited drivers from Blue Bird and Express, the country’s two largest taxi operators, to use their app in a bit to boost the service’s local capacity.
Brazil-based Easy Taxi launched its service in Jakarta in April. The company says it helps its users find the closest taxi to their location. The app removes the inconvenience of having to stand on the side of the road looking for taxis, as the driver and the user can locate each other at an agreed meeting point through the app.
The Easy Taxi app — available in 162 cities worldwide, including Singapore and Kuala Lumpur — currently has 15 million downloads globally. The company is establishing its operational inroads by partnering with both companies and drivers.
Easy Taxi usually approaches taxi operators first to feel out the opportunity for partnerships. If such an arrangement can’t be reached, Easy Taxi works directly with drivers, managing director Usman Lodhi told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.
“We’re not trying to take something away. We’re just trying to offer an additional channel for drivers to increase their livelihood,” Lodhi said.
Easy Taxi claims taxi drivers who work with the application see up to 50 percent more rides, compared with those who use conventional ways of finding customers.
Although the company typically charges a small fee — either to the drivers or the passengers, depending on the market — Easy Taxi’s service is currently still free in Indonesia as the company attempts to build its base, Lodhi said.
Cab companies’ reactions to Easy Taxi are mixed, pointing out the app’s redundancy with their own booking apps.
“We don’t have a partnership with Easy Taxi,” Teguh Wijayanto, head of public relations at Blue Bird Group, told the Jakarta Globe last week.
Teguh said Blue Bird drivers are not supposed to use any third-party booking apps. “We have our own application and we have our own fleet. Logically, why would [our drivers] add more fuss into their operations and use another application when there’s already one?”
But Express Transindo Utama president director Daniel Podiman, said on Monday that Easy Taxi was just another way for customers for reach the taxi operator.
“Express drivers are free to use all the apps that are available. If it’s easier for customers to reach us, why not?” Daniel said.
Easy Taxi may face an uphill battle convincing Jakartans of the service’s value proposition, however, as the city’s apparent abundance of taxis, licensed and not, means residents seldom face Singapore’s substantial cab queues or Kuala Lumpur’s notoriously uncooperative drivers. The experience of other cities’ introduction to Uber, however, suggests Easy Taxi’s Indonesia rollout will be worth watching.