Looking to help traditional meter taxis compete against the likes of Uber and Taxify, Zimbabwean-born IT entrepreneur, Prince Pirikisi launched Emergency Taxi, a service that caters to traditional meter taxis through an app.
According to Fin24, rider registrations started this week and the service already has more than 150 vehicles registered in Gauteng. Developed in 2016, the company launched in May this year and currently employs 15 people.
Emergency Taxi is working with the Meter Taxi Association who have come on board as partners and shareholders and according to Fin24, get a percentage of the profits. All vehicles and drivers would have to be members of the taxi council and be registered with Emergency Taxi.
Fin24 reports that “among the countless differentiating benefits are the 3% retainers for drivers, which are calculated annually and paid out as a bonus; provident fund benefit; rent-to-buy options; and the fixed per kilometre agreed rate with the council”.
Pirikisi said the app had a concealed panic button, a live chat feature and a hidden camera, as well as anonymous random inspectors to ensure the quality of the services.
“All the vehicles and drivers are screened and vetted by the taxi association so no one else comes to us unless it is through them,” Pirikisi said.
Each driver would also have a profile with pictures and inspections of vehicles will be done.
The service is only in Gauteng right now with plans to launch in Cape Town and Durban in the next six months.
The app has an Android version, with the iOS version set to be released soon.
Pirikisi, who has says he has “a background of IT, programming and animation” says he has invested about R2 million in developing the Emergency Taxi app.
Going forward he has expressed an interest in expanding into neighbouring countries, beyond Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana, where there have already been activations.