On the day Uber announces it will launch in Cardiff firm Dragon Taxis unveil new app for mobile booking
Wales’ largest private hire and taxi company, Dragon Taxis, has launched a £1 million “three-tap app” booking service for its customers in the Cardiff area.
The unveiling of the new app comes on the same day that Uber has announced it has been granted a licence for Cardiff.
Dragon Taxis’ owner, Veezu, has backed the development of the app after the successful rollout of the booking service in its Leeds-based firm, Amber Cars, which now sees 44% of bookings made through the app.
Back in November, when Conservative Assembly leader Andrew RT Davies said companies had to “adapt” or “die” in response to the Uber challenge, Paul Ragan, chief executive officer of Veezu, said that the arrival of the cab service would be “welcomed and not feared”.
Mr Ragan stated that “for those forward-thinking taxi firms who have already invested in cloud-based dispatch software and mobile app technology, Uber, and other application-only businesses, are playing a pivotal role in raising awareness of booking a taxi via an app, which must be seen as a positive.”
£1 million investment
And that is what Veezu have done. The app, available for both Android and Apple devices, has been in development for four years and has seen an investment of around £1 million to bring the current version to market, enables customers to book a taxi in three taps, with the option of paying by either cash or card.
Users can also select their favourite pick-up locations through the app’s interactive GPS map or by searching for an address or post code, and, for already existing customers of Dragon Taxis, the app creates an automatic “favourites” page of previous pick-up locations on download. Once a taxi has been booked, customers can track the location of their taxi on the interactive map, which also gives the user a time estimation of the arrival of the car.
The app cuts out the need to book a taxi through a centralised service, although Dragon Taxis’ customers can still book a taxi through traditional methods such as over the phone, walk-in or on account.
Mr Ragan said: “In today’s mobile-centric world, it’s important that we cater to the wants and needs of all our customers as the taxi and private hire industry goes through a period of change. This means that more traditional methods of booking a taxi, are not necessarily the way that all of our customers want to use our services.
“And with application-only businesses gaining traction across the UK, we wanted to create an app that not only meets but actually exceeds all of the services that global technology businesses are offering our local customers. We believe strongly in localism and clear on meeting customer needs by providing a reliable and safe service with consistent pricing.
“The launch of the Dragon Taxis app is a significant milestone for Veezu and a key investment into the businesses infrastructure. The product we have developed gives customers options, be it payment method or vehicle type all in a user-friendly format.”
Success in Leeds with app
Through the Dragon Taxis app, customers can also book six, seven and eight-seat vehicles as well as mini buses. Corporate accounts can operate via business credit and debit cards through the app, with the option of adding more than one card as an alternative payment options.
Veezu currently owns three regional taxi hubs in the UK, these are Amber Cars in Leeds, A2B Radio Cars in Solihull and Dragon Taxis in Cardiff. It also owns two smaller firms in south Wales, Radio Cabs in Bridgend and Dragon Taxis in Newport.
Veezu launched its app in Leeds and Solihull in 2015, and in Leeds 44% of taxi bookings are made through the app, with a further 12% through other electronic methods such as the internet and an interactive voice response system, meaning that less than half of its customers now book over the phone. In the first week of December, 38,000 bookings were made through Amber Car’s app.
Mr Ragan continued: “The focus of maximising technology to benefit our industry means that we will continually need to review the app, its capabilities and the user experience, but we believe that the Dragon Taxis app really is at the top of its game.
“Cardiff is a capital city and demand for taxi services are high. We’re not only servicing community needs but of business and leisure tourists as well as during peak evening time on weekends.
“We’re very aware of the supply and demand shortfall that customers face when trying to get a taxi in the Welsh capital on a weekend, with long queues or surcharged prices. We hope that our app will go some way in addressing these challenges, which gives customers the ability to pre-book, transparent waiting times, the location of available vehicles and a consistent price structure that won’t increase substantially at peak times – unlike some emerging app-only brands.”
Veezu has seen rapid growth since its inception with turnover increasing from £1 million in its first year to £20 million in 2015. Its combined fleet consists of almost 2,500 cars with further acquisitions planned for early 2016.
Source: Wales Online