Karhoo is set to join the party, although a much delayed launch could suggest they have some major technical obstacles that need to be overcome – but this is potentially a good thing; the more innovative the solution, the better it can be for consumers and harder to copy by competitors. In my opinion, Karhoo’s main difficulty will be persuading customers to switch from someone like Uber.
Assuming the technology works well, it will come down to two things: price and availability. Just having one won’t be enough. Having Addison Lee on board will give them availability but not price. We have to hope that the other minicab companies on the network are able to collectively offer both availability and price to compete with Uber. My gut feeling is that the larger minicab companies won’t want to drop their prices as low as Uber. This will probably result in heavily publicised incentive schemes to promote using the service. This is something which all tech companies have done heavily, only to find a large percentage of customers switch back to the cheaper provider once the incentive has ended. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing a new player in the market and I’m keen to see what they have developed. It’s important Karhoo is successful to help keep the market balanced.
The worst thing that can happen is for Uber to be allowed to become a new monopoly in the taxi and minicab market. Consumers benefit from competition and I feel we need at least five big players in the market to keep things healthy and competitive.