MiCab confident of Filipino support
With foreign-owned taxi hailing apps relying on add-on fees to make money, the Filipino-owned MiCab pivots towards LED advertisements to keep the fares low for commuters with an add-on of only 10 pesos or $0.22.
That P10 charge will go to the taxi driver, not to MiCab nor even the taxi operator, said MiCab founders Eddie Ybañez, Eric Cuenco, and Kenneth Baylosis even as they bared strategies to beat their bigger budgeted competitors soon.
While the local startup laid low for several months, foreign-owned competitors entered the Philippine market and carved large chunks of the market in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu. But MiCab remained unfazed.
“We are confident of local support,” said Eric Cuenco as the homegrown tech startup launched on July 29, 2015 its LED outdoor advertising signage for taxi cabs operating in Cebu.
MiCab began as a mainly taxi-hailing app in September 2013. “We supported the Cebu-based MiCab team back then. We continue to support them now,” said PRworks Inc. founder and president Doris Mongaya.
For a time, MiCab laid low and Easy Taxi came into the local scene and battled Grab Taxi in a drawn-out promo war. This time, however, MiCab is no longer just a taxi-hailing app. MiCab pivoted to outflank the giants.
LED ads & tablets
“MiCab is not only an app for dispatching cabs through your mobile gadgets. MiCab is also an advertising platform and fleet management platform software for transport and logistics companies,” said miCab founder Eddie Ybañez.
Even before the launching of the LED signage placed on the cab roof, the MiCab app in a 7-inch tablet used by cab drivers also doubled as an indoor advertising platform. The tablet displays ads while the taxi passengers are en route to their destinations.
This is now extended outdoors for passersby and commuters on the road with the LED signage, which features a location-based and GPS-powered interface as well as an automated ad management system.
“The tablet and LED signage advertising platforms by MiCab offers extra revenue opportunities for taxi and other transport operators. Our advertising feature also helps companies get closer to their intended market,” said Ybañez.
“We are open to all advertisers,” said Ybañez. So far, five advertisers have signed up.
MiCab’s LED screens can be availed of by interested advertisers for only P2,000 per slot per month with 30 ad slots per taxi unit.
SMS and iOS
Also introduced during the press briefing is the new MiCab mobile platform for iOS. MiCab was previously only available for Android phones, said MiCab founders adding that SMS-enabled bookings will soon be available.
MiCab has featured prominently its low booking fees at only P10 on top of the regular meter rate while ensuring a convenient, easy, and secure ride. MiCab further installs free WiFi in its partner taxis as an additional service for passengers.
“You don’t have to wait in long lines on taxi stands or endure the heat or bad weather by the road just to hail a cab. With MiCab, hailing a cab is as simple as using your mobile gadgets with or without Internet connection,” said Ybañez.
To ensure safety of passengers, MiCab has partnered with the Ken and Yoo taxis, which operates the biggest fleet of taxicabs in Cebu. The same partnership strategy with the big taxi fleets will likewise be pursued in other urban centers after Cebu.
This way, passengers are assured of safety and security. Ken and Yoo taxis, for instance, are known for honest drivers aside from being the biggest with some 700 relatively new cars in Metro Cebu.
Maricor G. Castañares of Ken Trans Inc. said she is proud of their drivers.
Software as a Service
Aside from hailing taxis and serving as ad platforms, operators of limousine services, car rental, and other logistics and transportation businesses can also avail of MiCab as a service platform for fleet management and other logistical needs.
For the founders, the SaaS function could lead to a possible premium taxi service once the franchise guidelines from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is out.
For Mongaya of PRworks, users tend to dwell longer in platform apps with more functions. The MiCab SaaS vision promises much along this direction.