Nigeria’s First Online Taxi Booking Service Debuts
Have you always wanted to book for taxis online or via mobile just like you would for flights? A new start-up called TaxiPark now has your back!
Since it soft-launched its taxi service in March which provided a mobile app that lets you find and contact taxi cab drivers within Lagos, it has been working to add more features such as Google maps for driving directions as well as cab services in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
Last night, I got an exclusive preview into what the service set to launch on December 20 would be providing to both users and taxi companies. With a self-service taxi booking site and mobile app (to be released in January 2013), TaxiPark now allows users to book for taxis immediately or at a future date and time.
On the other hand, taxi companies can sign up for TaxiPark’s subscription-based Cloud Console service to help them manage and control their taxi fleet as well as track driver movements and manage transactions.
The service is also designed for small to mid-size taxi fleets allowing taxi companies that sign up to access the application from anywhere via a PC or mobile device and provides trip booking and dispatching functions, in-vehicle mobile trackers, automatic vehicle location and support, maintenance, and training.
When taxi companies sign up to TaxiPark’s standard plan, they get to pay for every booking made through the service, although they only get charged (at N35 per booking credit) for accepted booking requests.
So when a user books for a taxi using TaxiPark, he/she doesn’t bear the cost of the booking, instead the taxi company does. When a booking is being made, a user includes details such as pick-up location, drop-off location, date and time, and chooses a taxi company indicating whether or not it would be a return trip.
Once booking is done, the service would map your trip using Google maps and show you the distance (in km), the amount of time it would take, and an estimated cost of the trip. The user could either accept the booking or request for the exact cost from the taxi company.
The user would then get an email and a call from the taxi company that a driver is being dispatched, while the trip is being monitored by the taxi companies.
During my test, the service worked perfectly when I booked for a taxi from Ajah in the Lekki axis to Radisson Blu Hotel in Victoria Island for December 16 at 12 noon. After calculating the trip request, the service told me it will be 22.1km long, take about 25 minutes and might cost up to N5820, while noting that I might be charged for extra delays.
As far as I know, that seemed like a decent calculation and costing given the day, time period and distance. I’m sure the estimated figures would be higher if it were during the week or at peak (traffic) periods within the axis.
However, since it was a test, I didn’t expect (or get) an email or call from the taxi company so I wouldn’t know how effective they are at dispatching drivers to a user’s location. That said, the TaxiPark service really provides a fun and interesting way to book for taxis around Lagos.
For now, the service would be available via the website, although it is working on its mobile apps which would come with extra features and expected to be released by January 2013.
As I did with its earlier version of the mobile app, I’ve bookmarked the site and can’t wait to start using the service via its new mobile app.