In Maastricht, a growing group of taxi entrepreneurs is working together to divide the work and offer the customer a taxi as quickly as possible. Corona kept the brakes on for the first few years, but the initiators of Taxi App Maastricht are positive and hope to be able to move forward at full speed.
The idea of working with distributing the work optimally to the various taxi companies in Maastricht and thus providing better service to customers is not new. After some trial runs in 2018 and 2018, the major art fair TEFAF started 2018 as an opportunity to really start working with the Taxi App Maastricht. But that party only partly went on; corona made its appearance and the stock market closed much earlier than planned. And after that, there were few moments where the app could run at full throttle.
‘The worst seems over’ Moncef Bouhmoch of VTM and Sven Boonen of Taxi Frenske have both been involved in the Maastricht taxi market for a while. They were also full in recent corona years. Nevertheless, they are optimistic about the initiative that they launched together with Taxi Service Maastricht. “It’s starting to look like we’re really over the worst now,” Boonen explains. “The app has been running in recent years, but at a low level. Now is the time for us to come out and really go for it with the collaborating taxi companies.”
There are currently about fifteen, including some bigger players in the city and a number of single pitters. The idea behind the app developed by Dispatch Connect Services is simple: the connected drivers bundle their availability, as it were. They can indicate themselves when they are working. The driver who can and is closest gets the ride. The customer has a taxi at the door within fifteen minutes of ordering and also knows what the ride will cost. For example, three journeys no longer remain in the queue at provider A while provider B has nothing to do. The service will therefore improve, so that demand will grow and all affiliated entrepreneurs will ultimately benefit from this, Boonen and Bouhmoch explain.
Drivers do not pay commission “The underlying idea is somewhat that of a taxi company. And the drivers who participate are satisfied, they see that it works,” says Bouhmoch. Boonen adds: “VTM, TSM and Taxi Frenske are the three inventors and more and more companies with one or two cars are joining them. And joining costs nothing, we don’t charge a commission. Maybe that will come someday, but for us it is especially important that we build up a group of drivers with whom we can offer stability and from which we all benefit.”
The taxi companies have a lot of information from their network approached catering establishments that increasingly use the app for their customers. Bouhmoch regularly discusses their experiences with catering entrepreneurs. “They enjoy working. When they order a taxi for the customer, they see what time the taxi will be there. Then they know that they can possibly sell one last drink and they do not have to call every time to see if the taxi is already arriving. To order a taxi, only a few details need to be entered, which makes it accessible. The price is immediately clear, also for the driver, and payment is simply made after the ride in the taxi.”
Didn’t agree on cooperation The men recognize that it can be difficult to get a group of taxi entrepreneurs to move in the same direction, especially with something new. Sven Boonen: “The main thing they want to know is what it will bring them. And they also look at each other. Does he get more rides than me? Mutual trust is needed, based on the idea that we all benefit from this. In an earlier phase we already said goodbye to parties with whom we did not agree on the way of working together within Taxi App Maastricht. The drivers can see each other’s whereabouts in the app, but if you’re working on that all day, the trust that is needed is lacking. Today one has a nice long ride, tomorrow the other and so it’s our turn.”
Can’t get around the app anymore Bouhmoch emphasizes that the system works well for everyone, even if the journey goes to the closest taxi. “We now have a larger team that works well together and ensures that customers have their ordered taxi quickly. The customer is central to this whole idea, so that they will simply no longer be able to ignore our app. We can now, as it were, take over services from each other. And because of this reliability and speed, the demand for taxis will only increase.
What is now especially necessary, the taxi entrepreneurs acknowledge, is that there will be more work to make the app even better prove. The foundation has been laid in recent years. “Collaboration between larger taxi companies usually succeeds, but with the self-employed it is often more difficult. As Sven indicated, it didn’t always work out for us either and we said goodbye to some drivers. But now we have a good group that puts the customer first and that we can gradually expand,” says Moncef Bouhmoch.
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