Finding a taxi willing to take you to your destination can be a gruelling experience; on a traffic-filled day, many taxis will refuse to go to certain locations including downtown and other mid-city neighbourhoods. It can mean waiting for up to 10 or 15 minutes until a willing driver finally shows up. The Easy Taxi app aims to change that experience. The app has been recently launched in Egypt, part of a network that started in South America, specifically Brazil, and is now available in 30 countries worldwide. The app was created by Tallis Gomes in Rio de Janeiro in 2011.
We contacted Yousuf Gameel, Business Development Manager at Easy Taxi Egypt. “This app experienced a big boom in Brazil,” he said. “It was adapted really quickly by customers and so it went viral. Then it was acquired by Rocket Internet, an internet tech incubator based in Germany. It has hundreds of ventures worldwide; it either acquires or creates internet start-ups. A 30-million dollar investment was made in Easy Taxi by several investors, but Rocket is the one managing the venture.”
This is Rocket’s second venture in Egypt since they also launched Jumia.com in 2012. The founder and CEO in Egypt is Hussein Abdelkarim, who also founded Burger Joint in 2005 and was the VP of Business Development of Jumia.com.
The app makes ordering a taxi a much easier experience. “Easy Taxi serves any area in Cairo. The regular white taxis register with us and then whenever someone orders a taxi using the app, we connect them with the nearest taxi to their location. The average time it takes a taxi to arrive after ordering is five minutes,” Gameel said. Currently, they have 2,000 taxis registered in Cairo and the app has recently been launched in Alexandria as well.
The app does not cost anything to download and use. “The application is free for all concerned parties. There are no expenses on the drivers or the customers. We expect future revenues from the possible ads on the app,” Gameel said.
Gameel added that the application has very specific goals. “The taxi service in Egypt is quite fragmented; customers cannot relay any complaints because there is no management. The Easy Taxi app regulates mainstream taxi services and so improves the user’s experience, especially when it comes to safety and convenience,” he explained. When a taxi is ordered, the customer can review the driver’s profile with information such as his full name and profile picture.
The second goal is focused on the taxi drivers. “No one cares for the needs of taxi drivers in Egypt,” Gameel said. “We want to provide them with support.”
The third goal is to ease traffic congestion. “When each taxi driver knows his route beforehand, it minimises random travelling and thus improves congestion,” Gameel added.
The app is available for Windows, android phones, iPhones and has a desktop version.