Easy Taxi’s regional boss says Ammanis are fast catching on to the benefits of using the mobile taxi booking service.
By Elisa Oddone
Mobile taxi booking apps are exploding in popularity in cities around the world, and according to Easy Taxi’s Middle East CEO Mahmoud Fouz, Amman is no exception.
Since it was launched early last year, Fouz said the Easy Taxi app has topped 50,000 monthly downloads, with one-third of Amman’s 12,000 taxi drivers having so far signed up to the service.
Why do you think Easy Taxi is proving so popular here?
We have witnessed sweeping success in Jordan and the region at large, where streets are not clearly indicated and clients often don’t know their whereabouts. The app has proved especially popular with women and those travelling at night. Jordan is one of our key markets in the Middle East due to its large number of taxis and the amount of carless people relying on the service. We are currently growing 30 percent a month. In the past few months we have experienced a sensitive growth in the country due, probably, to the bad weather conditions that make people book a taxi via the app rather than go out and stop one on the street. But we still have a huge potential for growth.
What’s the difference between Easy Taxi and other apps, like the online ride-service provider Uber?
We target different segments of society. There is a market for Uber’s services and another one for what we do. We respond to the needs of the largest audience in the region: those who cannot afford to book a private limousine for their rides. Bureaucracy is also friendlier to Easy Taxi than to Uber-like services, which use private cars. We only rely on licensed public taxis, thus helping the sector rather than challenging it.
What challenges did you face when you first launched the app?
Across emerging markets, the level of education of the drivers and their proficiency with technology is not very high. But if the taxi drivers realize the advantages derived from using the application, they would make an effort to learn how to master the service. We also help them purchase smartphones by providing them with special installment solutions.
How do you see Easy Taxi developing in the region?
We want to convert the passengers’ cash payments to electronic ones, so that interaction with the driver won’t be required anymore. This shift would also help boost the use of credit cards in Jordan, where cash is still king. We are also thinking of launching a corporative solution. Companies would be able to have a corporate account with us while their employees could use taxi without paying anything to the driver.