Big Blue Taxi takes on Grab, Uber in M’sia with e-hailing, delivery app
By Chong Jinn Xiung September 19, 2016
- Introduces new mobile app that combines e-hailing and delivery services
- Aims to help taxi drivers reclaim lost income with fixed transaction fee
AS the saying goes, if you can’t beat them join them. In Malaysia, a Kuala Lumpur based taxi company Big Blue Taxi Services is set to compete against ride-sharing services Uber and Grab with its own mobile application ZeptoBlue, co-developed with online delivery service platform ZeptoExpress.
Claiming to be more than just an e-hailing app for Big Blue Taxis, the app also doubles up as an on-demand delivery service powered by ZeptoExpress where Big Blue Taxis will offer same-day delivery services within three hours.
“We chose to partner with ZeptoExpress because of their experience in software development and because they were on board with our vision to revolutionise the local taxi industry,” explains Big Blue Taxi’s founder Shamsubahrin Ismail, who has been among the most vocal critics of the two services.
In various media statements made, Shamsubahrin had among others, slammed the Land Public Transport Department (SPAD), accusing it of being brainless and biased towards helping the two ride sharing companies get into the market rather than to regulate them.
And now, instead of waiting for regulatory action to level the playing field, he is taking the bull by its horn to challenge the two e-hailing companies head on with what he believes is a better value proposition to drivers.
"For Grab and Uber, they are deducting around 30% from the driver's income for every trip they take. This means if an Uber driver charges a customer RM100, the driver will only take back RM70. We don't deduct a single cent with our app. We only take a transaction fee of RM5."
[Editor's Note: A Grab spokesperson has clarified that Grab takes a 20% commission from each GrabCar ride. While for taxis, it only takes 3% of the fare.]
The reason for the low transaction fee is to help driver reclaim their lost income.
“The purpose of the app is to boost the income of taxi drivers who have been adversely affected by the arrival of ride-sharing services,” said Shamsubahrin.
The delivery edge
“We too understand the challenges faced by taxi drivers today hence we came up with a total end-to-end solution that caters to both the consumer and the drivers,” concurred ZeptoExpress’ chief executive officer Mohd Izzairi Yamin.
Everything is handled within the app, explained Izzairi. With just a few simple steps customers can choose between hailing a premium or budget taxi with the app or to make a delivery using the service.
“Payment is cashless as customers can pay for their taxi ride or delivery via PayPal. Additionally, the price that you see is what you pay, we don’t give you an estimated price,” he added.
ZeptoBlue currently services tourist areas in Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, Bangsar, Solaris, Sri Hartamas, Publika as well as the state of Selangor.
“With our fleet of over 2,000 cars in KL, we would be able to fulfil 2,000 deliveries in a day,” claims Shamsubahrin.
“All legalised taxi drivers are welcomed to register with us and be part of the fleet. There are approximately 20,000 drivers in the Klang Valley alone and I anticipate 70% of them eventually signing up with our app,” he adds.
Izzairi stresses that customer safety is a top priority for them hence the app includes features like a panic button to call for help during an emergency as well as a live tracking feature that allows passengers to notify a loved one or friend of their journey.
“We also strictly screen taxi drivers that register to be part of the fleet with background checks with the police as well as their summons record with the Road Transport Department. We do not accept drivers who have a criminal record,” Shamsubahrin stresses.
New features will be added to ZeptoBlue on a regular basis, including a carpooling feature that is similar to GrabHitch. Izzairi adds that ZeptoBlue users will enjoy introductory pricing by way of e-coupons early next month for using its delivery and ride services.
ZeptoBlue is available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.