It’s creating a network of local firms that can cover the country instantaneously. My adopted city is pretty forward-looking, but it was still a surprise when local taxi operations, as one, began offering their own Uber-style apps. It’s a phenomenon that’s occurring across the UK, with smaller outfits suddenly adopting app- and cloud-based booking systems.
But the company that’s pushing the change isn’t doing so just to make it easier for folks in far-flung cities to book a ride home. Instead, it’s the first step in a plan to unite the taxi industry in building a credible, singular rival to Uber.
Autocab is a British company that has produced specialist equipment for the taxi industry since 1991. It began with the crude radios that connected drivers to their dispatch office and grew from there. It now provides technology to more than 1,500 fleets across the globe, including 60 percent of the UK market.
In response to the looming threat of Uber, Lyft and the rest, Autocab began developing a passenger app. Seamlessly integrating with Autocab’s booking and dispatching system, Ghost, it essentially does the same job as Uber, connecting paying customers with nearby cars from a specific business. Companies simply buy into the system, skin the app with their own identity and branding, and hey, presto. But beneath the surface, all of these companies are using the same cloud-based platform to run their business.
That is what makes the iGo Everywhere network such an exciting prospect, since it can connect every company using Autocab’s systems. Let’s imagine that your local cab company is based in Nottingham and you use its app during your day-to-day life. If you traveled to another major town or city in the UK, that app would be useless, giving you an incentive to download a competitor’s product. That’s a lose-lose situation both for the business that’s local to you and the one in the city you’re traveling to.
But if both firms have signed up to iGo, then you’ll be able to book a ride from inside the same app that you use in Nottingham. You won’t have a reason to stray to a different platform, and it creates a virtuous cycle of back-scratching for these otherwise small businesses. You get the same ease of use, and your local taxi company gets a tiny commission for the referral.
- Autocab hopes to unite the taxi trade via IGo in Uber-style.