Traditional taxi drivers in Tehran were initially outraged by the operation of online ride-hailing apps, Snapp and TAP30, and even staged protests before the Iranian Parliament and asked the lawmakers to stop the operation of over 25,000 cars working as their new rivals.
However, the people’s satisfaction with the services provided by the two apps helped them continue their operation. These services are provided in lower prices, and the citizens of Tehran have reported that their drivers are more polite than the traditional ones.
Now, the traditional taxi industry is trying to claw back the market share it had lost. By launching its own ride-hailing app, Taxi Organisation is admitting the fact that there is no way but to give in to technology and a competitive market.
The service is expected to open in the next fiscal year that begins on March 21, ISNA quoted Meysam Mozaffar as saying. Name and brand of the service will be announced soon.
In the first step, an estimated 8,000 regular (green and yellow colour taxis) drivers will be trained to use the Android application, the official said, as reported by Financial Tribune.
The only competitive edge of the app, compared to its current rivals, is that it will allow passengers to pick the type of car (hybrid, new models, van…) they would like to ride as well as the driver’s gender.
Mozaffar claimed that the application will be the first service that has all the needed certifications to operate legally in the sprawling capital. Initially the service will begin working with Tehran taxi companies and private agency taxis will join later.
Thirty taxi stations have been set up across Tehran specifically for the purpose of picking up passengers through the new app. The stations are set up largely near hotels, hospitals, shopping centres and areas of larger footfall.
Drivers have all been tested for mental and physical health by centres affiliated to Tehran Municipality and will also qualify for insurance coverage.
The drivers will work three shifts for the service which will enable people to hail taxis 24 hours a day across the capital that is home to 12 million people.
Another feature borrowed from the ride-hailing apps, is that the identity and personal details of the drivers will be available to the person hailing the cab.
The taxi organization has access to their home address, “in case of a problem they can be easily tracked,” the official said.
Users who do not have smart phones or Internet access can hail a cab using the number 1800. The official said the fares the new cabbies will charge will be cheaper than those of currently available ride-hailing services.
On average, Snapp’s and Tap30’s costs are almost 40% less than the regular public taxi or the private agency companies.
Deputy for transportation at Tehran Municipality, Maziar Hosseini, said at the weekend that although ride-hailing apps have caused a stir among traditional taxis “the truth of the matter is that the people have welcomed the Internet-based services.”
He went on to say that “logically we should not defy the services, as they increase the income of drivers and decrease costs for passengers.”
Noting that Tehran’s authorities support the lawful use of modern technology, the TM official said, “so long as the applications abide by the law and employ respectful drivers they are welcome and can continue their work.”
Hosseini noted that the other earlier ride-hailing applications have also acquired all the necessary permits.
The services are said to employ a total of 40,000 cars plus another 100,000 private agency drivers.