Tallinn taxi firms can no longer cope without apps (3)
According to Taxify, two thirds of all taxis in Tallinn are ordered through their mobile app. Two larger companies have, however, turned their back on the service provider and launched their own app called Taxofon. Companies admit that life without mobile apps has become impossible.
For a month now, Tallink Takso, Takso24 and Tulika taxi companies have offered their drivers a chance to find customers through an alternative app to Taxify, Estonia's leading taxi ordering service.
“Things have taken an interesting turn. If in the old time clients would usually have a few taxi numbers saved in their phones, then today we find ourselves in a situation where a client can have several apps downloaded to order a taxi,” said Tõnu Uusmaa, executive board member of Tallink and Takso24.
Having their own app frees taxi companies from the need to pay commission to others and allows them to keep the information about their client base secret. However, for now, only 10 percent of all orders to the named companies are placed through their Taxofon app, while 90 percent are still made through a dispatcher. Taxofon currently includes around 500 cars and drivers.
Yet, many of these are probably also enlisted in Taxify, as up to 90 percent of all taxi drivers in Tallinn are self-employed. This means that the contractors have no say on who their drivers service, or how they procure orders.
“We must differentiate between taxi companies and the drivers, who are two completely different entities. Taxi companies are just one channel for a driver to find clients and since most of our drivers are self-employed, they can decided where and how they pick up work,” Markus Villig, CEO of Taxify, said. “Despite our former partner companies telling their drivers not to use Taxify last week, we saw no real decline in practice,” he added.
The fact that Taxify has become an inconvenient competitor to taxi companies shows how heavily Tallinners have come to rely on mobile apps to order their taxis.