Update: After the CEO of Easy Taxi contacted Vulcan Post, we have updated the article to reflect the total number of Easy Taxi mobile app global downloads to 2.5 million.
If you want to get a cab now in Taipei, you no longer have to stand beside the road, flagging down a cab, with no guarantees that any cab would stop for you.
You have a new option now: whip out your smartphone and with a click of a button – your cab is minutes away.
A new app called Easy Taxi, which literally gets you a taxi upon request, has so far displayed great potential of growth in Taiwan.
Originally founded in Brazil, 2011, Easy Taxi was designed to solve the problem of difficulty hailing a cab in Rio. After its success in Brazil, Easy Taxi took off worldwide and finally launched its service in Taiwan on September 2013. Vulcan Post managed to speak with the Taiwan Easy Taxi’s CEO Pei-Fu Hsieh and his team to understand more about what they do.
Easy Taxi launches in Taiwan
Taiwan has already established a mature taxi business before the company launches in the country. Although there are subways and buses around, Taiwanese still have high dependence on taxis, especially when the weather is bad or in case of emergency. In Taipei alone, there are over 60,000 licensed taxis.
So, why Taiwan?
According to Easy Taxi, Taiwan is a natural choice of country of expansion due to its relatively high smartphone penetration. This is essential for businesses which runs on mobile apps, like Easy Taxi itself. The company is not built to take the biggest market share, but instead, they want to change user habits in hailing a cab in Taiwan and other countries. It presents a great alternative to the traditional way of hailing a cab as the app is free, convenient and less time-consuming, compared to the cost inherent in long telephone calls for taxis.
Let’s talk more about the app
Easy Taxi currently offers two versions of its app – one for customers and another for drivers. It has been revised and upgraded up to six times, in order to design the interface to be as user friendly as possible.
Through the app, customers only need to type in where they want to be picked up, or use the phone’s GPS for their current locations, and then he can confirm the taxi booking.
On the other end, drivers receive the customer request notification and instantly reply to the requests. One fantastic feature about the app is, customers would know how long they need to wait as the app constantly refreshes the driver’s location. This allows customer to know exactly where and when do they need to be.
Once a call request is confirmed, customers can contact drivers directly in case of any changes before drivers arrive at the requested location. This is an extra advantage for drivers as they can now avoid any no-shows by customers. As every services are on record, if customers accidentally left something on the taxis, they would know which taxi to look for.
Win – Win.
Another killer feature of Easy Taxi’s app is its global usability. Easy Taxi currently operates in more than 20 countries worldwide with over 90,000 taxis available on its system. In Asia, the company has operations in India, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan and The Philippines. International travelers can use the same app and same interface to call a local taxi when they are in another country.
Easy Taxi is constantly expanding to more countries, and according to the Easy Taxi Taiwan team, the app has reached over 2.5 million downloads globally, out of which Taiwan users contributed 5,000 downloads to.
Drivers are family to Easy Taxi
For the taxi business, drivers are the core to everything.
Recognizing that, Easy Taxi has launched multiple recruiting campaigns at several government agencies during the taxi license renewal period, an efficient way since a huge amount of drivers would gather at the same place.
Easy Taxi Taiwan told Vulcan Post that they approached drivers to join them as a team and family, and they charge no additional fees from the drivers to be part of them. This provides an extra incentive for the drivers to join Easy Taxi as they now get access to more potential customers.
Photo: Drivers participated in Easy Taxi’s marketing campaigns on Taipei streets.
It is indeed a good deal for the drivers, and guess what? By recruiting drivers who are willing to do business on their smartphones, Easy Taxi simultaneously recruits a tech-savvy group of drivers who tends to own a larger and comfy car, and tends to keep their cars clean and cozy. Due to that, Easy Taxi Taiwan is also known for having a fleet of comfortable and cozy taxis.
Easy Taxi Taiwan currently has over 700 drivers and is looking for more drivers to join them.
Also read: Things to Know Before You Fly Off to Taiwan
How Easy Taxi is growing and marketing its service in Taiwan
Easy Taxi uses Facebook page as a major channel to increase its brand awareness – the same reason why it chooses to enter Taiwan – more than half of the population are Facebook users, a rate that tops almost any other country in Asia. Easy Taxi is targeting a more tech-focused customer group, and Facebook is surely a perfect place to locate them.
Adopting a customer centric marketing strategy, Easy Taxi features personal stories of drivers and customers on their Facebook page, and has managed to generate over 5,000 likes in three months. For the global page, Easy Taxi’s Facebook page has more than 220,000 likes so far.
Other than its Facebook page, Easy Taxi Taiwan also gains exposure by giving out $50 discount coupons for first time customers through Groupon and through advertising on radios.
When Vulcan Post stated that radios might not be a popular marketing channel in Taiwan nowadays, CEO Pei-Fu Hsieh explained that radios are actually for the drivers and customers.
Drivers usually have their radio on when driving, and it would not only help connect Easy Taxi’s drivers to the company, but it would also attract more drivers and customers if they hear about Easy Taxi on air in their cars, said CEO Pei-Fu Hsieh.
These marketing strategies work, and people love Easy Taxi. According to Easy Taxi Taiwan, over 40% customers have used their service more than once.
Other than that too, Easy Taxi is working with partner restaurants. These restaurants would have Easy Taxi’s coupons on the counters and offer taxi service for customers to travel to and from their restaurants.
Easy Taxi lists these partner restaurants on Facebook and they promote Easy Taxi to their customers as well. This mutual marketing strategy is a win-win for both party.
Easy Taxi Taiwan grows with a young team.
Everything seemed to be working out well for the Easy Taxi Taiwan team, a relatively young team of 15. Led by CEO Pei-Fu Hsieh, Hsieh was previously working for a leading venture capital in China for four years, and brings his experience with startups to Easy Taxi Taiwan.
Focusing on the local operations and coordinating with Easy Taxi Global, Hsieh shared how it feels like to lead a vigorous new company: the most fulfilling moments come when he senses the growth of the team and the company. Specifically, to see results and growth which started from nothing. Of course, as every entrepreneur often would feel, Hsieh at times feels overwhelmed with all the strategies he need to execute to continue growing the company, and wishes he had more hours everyday to devote to Easy Taxi.
Easy Taxi Taiwan expects to expand its team to bring the company to the next stage in the near future.
So if you are looking for a young and fast growing company, you can definitely check out Easy Taxi. If you are not, you can also download their app and start using it the next time you are looking to hail a cab!
Also read: Taiwan’s iCHEF sets the new standard for restaurant POS system
(Photo credit: Easy Taxi Taiwan)