Facilitating city travel is one of the cases where the positive contribution of technology is evident. In Greece, and more specifically in the capital, there are now three services that intervene to serve drivers and taxi passengers, TaxiBeat the Taxiplon and recently, the Uber.
The technology takes over the details that make it possible for such a service: where the passenger is, which is the nearest available driver (GPS with subscription to mobile networks), what is the driver's and / or the mobile profile, , how close is it, what it offers and how good it is based on the ratings of other passengers. It can also take over the payment if the passenger chooses to pay without cash, credit / debit card or PayPal.
In most cases, with the exception of the Taxiplon that operates hybridly, 18222 is also a prerequisite for the existence of a smartphone with an Internet connection. From the passenger's side, the requirement for access to the Internet may be limited to the starting point, while it is absolutely essential for the driver to stay online as he wishes to serve through the taxi service.
"We're only an app": Two of these three services clarify - for legal and tax reasons - that they are not the same "moving services" (or the transfer of objects). They prefer to identify themselves as a "platform" that calls on taxi drivers to join the service to accept requests for people to move - or unaccompanied objects - on the other hand, potential passengers to take advantage of their ability to know "the right taxi now". Exclusive Tax Taxon for Greece and Cyprus has been granted since April 2012 to MK Transfer Club (which is located in 2003 in the area of transportation).
Do smartphones have taxis?
The advantages offered by these services to drivers appear to be many.
Instead of running through the streets of the city or standing for a while on the taxi platforms looking for a passenger, the drivers activate the data traffic on the smartphone with their account and respond to the service calls.
They are also able to know at all times that there is plenty of traffic to go by.
They can respond to requests near the location they are in, while they might otherwise have passed.
They also have the opportunity to increase their clientele and their turnover, thanks to the added value they can offer to the passenger, such as a baby seat, Wi-Fi internet access, foreign languages or simply excellent service.
For these reasons, with the major increase in their turnover, taxi services seem to be here to stay.
What does the passenger gain?
Given drivers' acceptance, passengers also have a lot to gain. The first advantage they seek and often distinguish customers is direct taxi picking, free of charge, without a necessary phone call or reservation, but with a tap on their smartphone. All services allow taxis to be found even from the browser, but mainly from a portable device such as a smartphone.
Has the taxi become cheaper?
As taxi services are on the rise, competition between them increases. So, we start to see even for free races in the city, which the service undertakes to ensure. For example, when conducting a major event, all service taxis can serve by providing a substantial discount or even free of charge. UberTaxi is launched in Athens with a discount of 20% up to date and its offer did not leave TaxiBeat unanswered, which responded with a 20 Euro prize to all new app users.
Another advantage is the sense of security that is created for the passenger because he can see the driver's profile, know his license plate, even have his phone number. This information may, for example, be useful if, for example, you forget something in your car.
Another advantage is all these value-added services such as baby sitting, foreign languages (imagine being in a foreign city) or others, such as the ability to pick up your friends from the street and share the fare.
These services receive payments via a credit or debit card, Taxibeat also accepts via PayPal, while Uber considers its advantage to use the exclusive UberTaxi service without cash.
Taxibeat, Uber and Taxiplon do not require drivers to cooperate as exclusive. However, the best drivers are emerging from the multiple positive ratings of the passengers. So in order to build a good profile in the service, it will probably be appearing on the network. Similarly, potential passengers can use all three services for personal service appraisal purposes, have three apps installed, take advantage of their offers and discounts, or just end up trusting one of the three networks for different reasons.
Interestingly, drivers can also have reviews and ratings for the passengers they have served.
The customer does not charge anything for taxi services. Instead, drivers pay a percentage for the use of the service on the route value (eg, in the case of Taxibeat is 10%), which is known at any time in the network. In the case of UberTaxi, the passenger can even share with friends his current position while on the move to his destination - something useful in the case of elderly or teenage movement. The end of the route may not be known from the start - for example, in Taxibeat, the customer does not indicate its destination to speed up the process, whereas the UberTaxi may be known for the destination and / or the estimated cost of the route the amount you're asked to pay depends on traffic, destination, eg airport, and other parameters, such as discounts).
Another difference between services is whether it is allowed to carry more than one customer of the service. In Taxibeat this is not allowed, Uber is allowed with the permission of the customer already in the race - with the Split Fare option for sharing the race with friends from the contact book accessed by the app.
The advantages of taxi services are undoubtedly many. One parameter that each user should consider is how they use their components and their security. Remember, where you are on a route or where you went is on the servers of these online services, as well as the history of your journeys. If you do not want to leave anything to chance, it's a good idea if you ever decide to go back to the streets looking for a taxi, disable your accounts and require your data to be deleted immediately.
Surely this review is not complete, but we could not draw any safe conclusions even with an exhaustive table of comparison of the features they offer or not. The experience of the passenger (and the driver) will determine his choice as well as the image he will form in the long run as the fleets of cars are re-engineered and, above all, as the drivers are experimenting.