Ecoride, a Malawian founded company has developed and is operating the ecoride smartphone application connectin phones with taxi drivers.
Officially launched on 27 July 2018, Ecoride operates its app which enables people to call for taxis from their smartphones.
Currently, the pricingis K300 per kilometre.
The application can be downloaded from Google Play Store before drivers and riders can register.
The ecoride application is currently available on Android devices with the development team working on introducing it on iOS and windows phones.
Customer registration is done after downloading the customer app.
The test run for customer requirements showsthat one needscustomer name, gender, password, phone number and email address.
Pilirani Namalomba is the chief executive officer for Ecoride and he explains how the taxicab service works once the app is downloaded onto the phone.
“First you have to log in using the email and the password you used while registering. Once you have been logged in and you are looking for a ride, the app will lead you to a page where you have options to check for an estimate on your trip’s fare, you first enter your current location and then your preferred destination and click on estimate, your estimated fare will be displayed on your screen.”
Namalomba continues: “This estimate will help you decide whether you have enough finances to support your trip. If you decide to proceed with the transaction you will click on call driver button and the app will ask you again to state your location and your preferred destination and you will proceed to call the driver.”
“The app will search for a driver and once a driver is found the app will let you know accordingly. The driver will have to accept the call to pick you up, once a driver has accepted the details of the driver will appear on your screen, for instance the driver’s name, the model of the car and its registration number and the time it will take him to reach you.”
“In no time the driver will reach your location and picks you up. Once you have reached your destination the driver will click on his/her mobile to indicate that you have reached your drop point and the actual fare will appear on your phone screen,” he further outlines the process.
He however adds: “This actual fare may slightly be more or less the estimated fare. You will be asked to pay the fare and once the driver confirms receipt of the amount, your app will be ready for another ride just like that.”
Apart from registering as customers, Ecoride is also offering taxi drives an opportunity for business as they can register their own cars and operate as cabs under the service.
For the drivers, registration is done through the ecoride employees so that they can have all ecoride registration requirements.
Requirementsare driverinformation includingname, gender, phone number, email address, profile photo for the driver, the drivers licence number and drivers licence copy.
Next is car information:car brand, model, year of make, color, valid motor vehicle insurance and certificate of fitness.
Ecoride is being dubbed the Uber of Malawi and Namalomba says: “The public response has been very incredible. People are excited to be a part of this new advanced innovation that is first in the country. This service is being introduced to many cities around the world and Malawians were anxious about this for a long time, and so far they are very supportive and are registering on the app in masses.”
On Government providing business friendly environment, Namalomba says: “The Malawi Government introduced a way where every phone user has to be registered and this order was effected on 1 October 2018, since Ecoride is a phone based service, we are able to know the identity of our customers and if anything goes wrong we can be able to track them.”
In the United Kingdom and other countries, Uber has had security issues, with its license to operate in some cities like London being revoked.However, Namalomba says Ecoride is safe due to measures the company has implemented.
“Ecoride offers security, safety and convenience to its customers. The drivers undergo a criminal background check and in-person training. Drivers are required to be at least 21 years old and have had their driver’s licence for three years.”
“Ecoride has zero tolerance on alcohol and drug use. Ecoride offers its riders the convenience of not having to travel a distance to a taxi rank; the app allocates you the nearest driver to your location hence saving the rider’s precious time,” statesNamalomba.
Despite the customer base getting bigger by the day, Ecoride is currently facing challenges which include other drivers not willing to register.
“We are talking to people to embrace this change and this innovation and come to our offices and register with us and operate as one of our driving partners,” he says on what Ecoride is doing to address the challenge.
“Ecoride offers extra income and flexible working conditions to drivers who chose to switch the app on-duty mode when they are free to work and off-duty mode when they are occupied with other business.
“This means a person can have his or her daily job but passionate about driving, he or she can register their vehicle with Ecoride and drive when off duty from the daily job, hence making a quick buck out of their free time.”
Currently, Ecoride is operating in Blantyre and Lilongwe, with plans to expand to other cities and districts across Malawi, before crossing borders.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :