GetTaxi, a mobile app that connects users directly with licensed cab drivers, has signed up 150 drivers in the month since it launched.
It is now offering £5 cab rides to every passenger, claiming all rides within the city centre will cost just £5 regardless of traffic or time – with the firm footing the bill over that amount. The offer is expected to boost the number of people using the app, which in turn could help GetTaxi recruit more drivers.
The company has so far targeted freelance “street cars” which aren’t tied to any of the three main black cab companies in the city, but a number of cabbies working for firms are believed to be moonlighting for GetTaxi.
There are roughly 1300 cabs on the streets of the Capital, with street cars making up around 300 of the total fleet. However, one driver already moonlighting for GetTaxi said the app could soon have the majority of drivers signed up.
He told the Evening News: “This app will finish the black cab companies. It’s so easy to use. There could be 1000 cabs signed up within a year. For drivers, it’s pay as you go, so I pay ten per cent of the fare to the company, but if I’m off sick or on holiday, I don’t pay anything. But I have to pay the firm 52 weeks of the year. I’d have to be dead to stop paying.”
The cab driver added that GetTaxi was more efficient at distributing jobs.
However, Tony Kenmuir, director of Edinburgh’s largest cab firm, Central Taxis, said GetTaxi didn’t provide any new or better service, and said drivers in the Capital’s taxi co-ops would be reducing their income if they signed up to the app.
He said: “GetTaxi’s app doesn’t do anything that our app and Citycab’s app don’t do already – it’s just a way of booking a taxi.
“This incentive that they’re offering is a one-off deal to get them to start booking taxis going forward.
“They’re not bringing anything new to the market, they’re not employing anybody in Edinburgh, they’re not running a booking office in Edinburgh. Between us, the major cab firms employ hundreds of people, and all of the money we generate stays within the city. All they’re looking to do is take ten per cent of the money the taxi drivers would have earned in cash off the street.”
Mr Kenmuir added that Central drivers were not allowed to accept fares from other sources.
GetTaxi CEO Remo Gerber said he eventually hopes to have “several hundred more” cabbies using the app in Edinburgh.
“We want people to discover what the app can do for them and what a great service it is,” he said. “You don’t need to stand out in the street, you can get your cab while you’re still indoors. You also have a bigger range to get a cab, so you’re not standing in Princes Street hoping that a cab comes your way.
“The more drivers that are on the platform, the better the service for the user. We’re providing them with an alternative way of making income.”