After witnessing US transportation giant Uber take the world by storm, Parfait Outtara from Ivory Coast saw an opportunity to bring the concept to African shores. Upon increasing passenger concerns over the safety of unregulated taxis and long waiting times, he sought to provide a solution.
Founder Parfait Ouattara states: “People were not feeling secure using taxis, so we created TaxiJet to help solve this issue of security in our country.”
In 2011, he began working on an app which would become similar to that of Uber, with a key difference – TaxiJet works with existing taxi services not against them. Local taxis still get to pick up their own customers in addition to TaxiJet customers received via the app. This leads to very busy but happy drivers as their revenues have greatly increased. TaxiJet appear eager to state that they are less controversial than Uber.
In June 2015, Parfait was finally able to launch TaxiJet into the Ivorian market.
How it works
TaxiJet prides itself on providing the utmost comfort and security to its customers as well as being the first taxi calling app in Francophone Africa.
TaxiJet enables users to reserve a taxi in just three clicks. Users begin by choosing a pick-up or a departing point. Afterwards, a destination is chosen by the user which is then followed by a confirmation receipt. To tackle the issue of safety, a Satellite Navigator is installed in each cab as well as on the business phones given to each driver. This enables easy tracking of each vehicle as well facilitation of duty for the drivers. Each completed journey generates a 10% commission for the brothers whilst the drivers earn the rest as income.
Growing Pains to Gains
Speaking to CNN, Founder Parfait reiterated the first challenge was the need for TaxiJet to build a trustworthy reputable relationship with the public.
“We not only needed to get the drivers up to speed on training in terms of using new technology but we had to teach them etiquette on how to behave when around customers and how to drive with the utmost care.”
As demand grew, the brothers were able to invest $1 million into a fleet of cars.
“I am very passionate about technology and believe it changes and improves the way we live.” explains Parfait. “Right now, most people wait an average of 30 minutes to an hour or more for a taxi. Using technology such as GPS alongside TaxiJet made it very easy for drivers to know exactly where customers are and vice versa. This was our way of solving the issue of waiting and security, while connecting both driver and customer.”
Since its launch in 2015, TaxiJet now has over 10,000 users on its app and over 100 bookings per day. Speaking on where he would like to see TaxiJet in the future, Parfait says, “In the next 5 years we expect to obtain 10% of market share in Cotre D’Ivoire and to expand into neighboring countries – why not go to America and Europe?”
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