How do you get your cab? Do you walk everywhere in search of a favorite looking taxi? Or, do you scroll down your phone’s contact list and call at least three taxi drivers whenever you need a ride? Both are inconveniencing.
Walking from the office to the taxi parking bay can be unpleasant. Why? Because you don’t like walking. On a serious note; you may not want to walk around Ngara, Thika Road, Ronald Ngala and Tom Mboya as breathing air around these places may kill you. The research by Prof Michael Gitari found that generally air around Nairobi has 105 micrograms of poisonous substances per cubic metre, yet the World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 20 micrograms of poison to be in one cubic metre for that air to be considered safe. What this means is that air around Nairobi is already 10 times beyond the threshold limit. Run for your life dear Nairobian, run!
The second option of scrolling down your contact list can also be a nightmare. You might have taken that number a few weeks ago, saved it, forgot to include the word taxi while saving, and now you cannot know who among the many John’s is the taxi guy. Or you saved it right, it became the fifth taxi guy in your contact list, but when you call them one by one the first is too far, the second is engaged and the rest have their phones in airplane mode.
Those inconveniences are what made people like Uber and Easy Taxi come up with the brilliant idea of connecting you to your favorite taxi guy without having to leave office, meeting venue, or home. You also don’t have to save any driver’s number anymore.
Already we have examined Uber in the article Reasons Why I Think Uber Will Struggle in Kenya written by Kachwanya and also compared the different approach Easy Taxi has that makes it a step ahead of Uber. Then we decided to give Easy Taxi a trial.
Easy Taxi in Kenya
This Wikipedia article has lots of information you may want know about Easy Taxi and its global presence. Personally I am interested in their presence in Kenya. Easy Taxi entered the Kenyan market in April 2014 and since then they have recruited more than 500 drivers in their platform.
The Easy Taxi drivers are generally concentrated around Westlands, CBD, Kileleshwa, Lavington, Ngong Road, Karen and adjacent areas. Eastlands is yet to witness the presence of cab drivers allied to Easy Taxi and their absence in this region could be as a result of lack of adequate customers in Eastlands.
Easy Taxi App
The Easy Taxi App is a simple one to use. You just go to your App Store e.g. Google Play, download the App, create an account by providing your name, email address and phone number – and you are ready to Request a Taxi.
There is something we really like doing whenever we download new apps, we like to test if all the features work. The problem with testing if Easy Taxi’s “Request Taxi” feature works is that an actual Taxi will come to pick you up, so, don’t test it. Just use it.
Or, if you want to see that the feature actually works, then watch this video.
Once you press Request Taxi, it should not take more than seven minutes (you need to be in the areas I have mentioned above) before the Taxi arrives to pick you. If you are out of the concentration zone, then the nearest Taxi might take up to 20, 30 minutes or even 2 hours before picking you up – depending on the traffic situation.
The benefits derived from using Easy Taxi as a Passenger
These are the pros of using Easy Taxi as a passenger as explained by Easy Taxi, and I agree:
Convenient: Tired of calling multiple taxi drivers to find the closest one to you? With Easy Taxi, the application automatically detects your position and looks for the closest taxi driver around you!
Safe: Never get into a taxi with a stranger again! With Easy Taxi, all of our partner drivers are registered into our database so you can see the taxi drivers’ name, phone number, and car details BEFORE he picks you up!
Reliable: How many times has your taxi driver told you “I’m right here!”, or “I’m 5 minutes away!” only to find out that he’s really far away? With Easy Taxi, you can track your taxi’s arrival in real-time via the built-in GPS
Price Guide: Nobody enjoys haggling over taxi prices. With Easy Taxi, you can check the built-in tariff for the most popular routes in Nairobi so you always have an idea on the right price range. We’re adding more neighborhoods weekly so pretty soon, you’ll never have to argue again!
Safety for the passenger
There is one thing that would bother you as a passenger, how about my safety? Easy Taxi has said that you no longer need to worry about your safety since “you can see the taxi drivers’ name, phone number, and car details BEFORE he picks you up!”
You and I know that those are not enough. We have already read that Uber is facing problems as “reports of thuggery, rape cases, driver negligence and personal data misuse in particular the ability of uber staff to track the movements of its customers known as God Mode” have been rampart.
With Easy Taxi consolation comes in given that for a driver to offer cab services under Easy Taxi brand, the driver must provide Easy Taxi with his/her identity documents including National ID and driver’s licence. In addition, the driver must provide certificate of good conduct from the CID.
Okay, we may not trust that those are adequate measures.
That’s why Easy Taxi goes a step further and takes the new to be registered driver for screening with BM Security. BM Security will do background checks on the driver and only after the driver has passed the rigorous tests will he be allowed to operate under Easy Taxi.
Finally Easy Taxi takes the new driver through an orientation programme where the driver is required to learn, among other things, how to offer courteous services to all customers.
Safety for the driver
The driver who gave me the Easy Taxi ride did not stop at letting me know of the rigorous scrutiny tests Easy Taxi subjects them to but was also quick to point out that with Easy Taxi they feel safe too.
This is because when a driver accepts a request for taxi services, both the name and the number of the passenger is displayed on the driver’s phone. This to him is way better than a complete stranger walking over to the taxi and asks to be dropped sometimes in the middle of nowhere.
Interview with Easy Taxi Driver
I took my one hour ride in Easy Taxi to ask the driver a few questions. One of the things that was of interest to me was how Easy Taxi makes its money since as opposed to Uber, there seem to be no pricing structure imposed on the driver.
Driver – We just charge our standard rates that are well known, but we pay Easy Taxi a percent of what they earn.
Me – What percentage?
Driver – xx percent.
Me – This means you earn less per trip, why then prefer Easy Taxi?
Driver – I prefer Easy Taxi because before I started using the service, per day I would only make about 6 to 7 thousand on average. On Good days I could make up to 15 thousand per day or sometimes go home without any business. But with Easy Taxi on an average day I make over 12 thousand, never go home without business and sometimes I can make up to 30 thousand.
Me – Seems your business has doubled?
Driver – Yes very much.
Me – Would you ask other drivers to join Easy Taxi?
Driver – Of course, but not too many as our customers are limited. I don’t like a lot of competition.
Me – Why did you call me when you saw my taxi request?
Driver – You see sometimes a customer might have indicated his location as point A but in actual sense he is several metres away from point A. We call to know your exact location and to know whether you want to be picked immediately or after 5 or so minutes.
Me – What if I want to be picked after 30 minutes or 2 hours?
Driver – Once I pick your request, I get locked, I can’t pick another request until I have taken you to your destination. To lock me for 30 minutes yet there are some requests coming in won’t be good for business. That’s why Easy Taxi allows up to 5 minutes wait time but not more.
Me – Is there something you don’t like about Easy Taxi?
Driver – So far so good, I have no complains.