Two students who storm the Eindhoven taxi market with their own company. That is the story of Sabur Mortazawi and Sofia Kouhestani. With Taxionspot, the two have set up their own transport company. They compare themselves to Uber, only better. In a few months they want to control at least fifty percent of the Eindhoven taxi market. In an extensive conversation with TaxiPro, they describe how they are going to achieve that goal. “If you take too big steps, things can quickly go wrong.”
About two years ago, taxi platform Uber made its appearance in Eindhoven. At the train station, Sabur Mortazawi, who was still a taxi driver at the time, saw the arrival of the taxi platform catch on. “As a student of technical business administration, I earned some extra money on the weekends as a taxi driver. My father and uncle were also taxi drivers, so I was brought up with that from home. As a driver, you sometimes stood in line for two to three hours at the taxi rank. At that time I saw that people coming out of the station no longer took a normal taxi, but waited fifteen minutes for their Uber to arrive. Why do they wait so long when there is a queue of normal taxis in front of them, I wondered.”
Transparency Mortazawi wanted an answer to that and decided to investigate this case himself. It turned out that passengers prefer to know in advance how much a ride will cost. “Uber was more transparent on this point than other taxi companies at the time,” says the entrepreneur. This was the starting point for both Mortazawi and Kouhestani, who met at school, to market Taxionspot. Although the company has been registered with the Chamber of Commerce for six years, the developed strategy has actually been implemented for the last two years.
They compare themselves to Uber. For example, Taxionspot, just like the originally American taxi platform, uses an app that customers can use to book a taxi and track their journey. However, there are also subtle differences. This is how Taxionspot works with self-employed persons and drivers who are employed. “Four drivers are employed by us on a permanent basis,” says Mortazawi. “But because there are many journeys, currently about thirty to forty a day, we also use freelancers. They can register as a driver via our app. In Eindhoven, approximately 24 drivers are now driving as self-employed persons for Taxionspot.”
Just like Uber , the Eindhoven taxi company asks a commission from the drivers per trip driven. “However, that percentage is much lower with us than with Uber. We use a commission of 07 percent. The price that the customer pays for a ride with us is also slightly higher, which means that drivers choose us rather than Uber.”
Eindhoven Taxionspot’s activities are currently limited to Eindhoven only. According to the two taxi companies, this was a well-considered choice. “Our first research focused on Eindhoven,” explains Kouhestani. “We looked at whether we could start in that city and that was the case. That worked out well. We would like to expand to cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, but that is really something for the future.”
“Our strategy is to be stable in one city,” adds Mortazawi . “We want to have enough trips, so that taxi drivers can also generate sufficient turnover. The moment you have enough customers who continue to book rides, we move on to the next city. If you make too big steps at once, things can quickly go wrong. We currently serve about thirty percent of the Eindhoven taxi market. Ultimately, we want to control forty to fifty percent of that market. Then we can take the next step.”
Trip guarantee According to Sabur Mortazawi and Sofia Kouhestani, everything stands or falls with ride guarantee. Taxi drivers must be able to make enough trips so that they can earn as much money as possible. In order to realize this ambition, Taxionspot is expressly seeking cooperation with other companies. “We work together with three hotels. We have created a kind of dashboard for them, allowing them to book a taxi for their guests at any time of the day. The drivers employed by us receive those trips. If, for one reason or another, these drivers are unable to carry out this journey, it will be passed on to a self-employed person. Those hotel rides are always there. Taxi drivers who drive for us can always fall back on that.”
Sofia Kouhestani mainly focuses on business development within Taxionspot. “Think about setting up partnerships with other companies and managing stakeholders, for example. Sabur mainly focuses on managing our drivers and developing our app. Do we ever have friction with each other? Certainly,” says Kouhestani with a laugh. “That is part of it, but we always work it out. Communication is key in it. In the end, it’s all about Taxionspot. We have a goal and we keep it in mind.”
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