The Dutch startup Ugo (a continuation of the taxi startup Drive Ugo, which started in 2013), a joint venture between Ugo and Transvision International, today launched a nationwide taxi platform. With Ugo, people can book a taxi at a a predetermined price, directly or months in advance, anywhere in The Netherlands. Ugo wants to put an end to the lack of transparency in the taxi market, where prices and availability of taxis are unpredictable. Ugo is a continuation of the taxi startup Drive Ugo, which was founded in 2013.
The company functions as a booking platform for taxis and cabs are supplied by . affiliated taxi companies all over the country. The customer can see immediately what amount he pays to his destination. “Our main goal is to make the taxi market transparent for everyone,” said Michiel Huisman, Ugo-director. “At the same time we want to improve and increase convenience.”
A taxi booking is easy with the Ugo app, or online via the UGO website or through partners such as OV9292, TIX.nl and Couvert. With Ugo existing taxi companies can add several other sales channels, which adds the websites of Ugo’s partners the booking opportunities. Huisman: “We don’t want to add additional capacity to the existing market where there are already a lot of taxis available, but rather to optimize the existing network.”
Ugo taxi let’s you make sure a taxi will be available even in the remotest locations. “Everyone knows the problem. Sometimes getting a taxi at remote locations can really be a hassle”, says Huisman. “When you use Ugo we will make sure you have advance understanding of the costs and a taxi from a recognized company arrives at the appointed time and place, not only in the densely populated part of the country.”
Ugo comes with a new fare structure. Where other taxi companies also base their rate on the time you are in a taxi, Ugo only charges a fee per kilometer. How high that rate is, depends on the location and type of taxi you are using. Devious practices not uncommon in the taxi trade are excluded, because it is no longer in the interest of the taxi company. “Because we already know the fare in advance we can advertise this and sell through various channels,” says Huisman. “Unlike other providers, we apply a limited rate which never increases when it is busy. We also see opportunities in the future to let the affiliated taxi discount the fare when they have excess capacity.”
From Ugo one can choose from a diverse range of vehicles, with their own rates. With a group, one can book a van. When you’re traveling alone, choose a cab. Ugo may allow other forms of transport to join the platform. Huisman: “You can think of a choice between electric cars and non-electric, but you can also think of a partnership with a car part supplier. We want people from Ugo to organize their trip, door to door as they want it.”
Ugo has new apps for Android and iOS smartphones. With the app you book your taxi anywhere in the Netherlands with a response time of 30 minutes. In addition, in major cities – starting with Amsterdam, Utrecht, Haarlem, Leiden and The Hague – your cab will be there in minutes. The rest of the country will follow in the coming weeks. Ugo works with the mobile apps with an online account on ugonext.com, and which is linked to your credit card or PayPal. Payment is not deducted until the end of the trip. The longer the trip, the lower the amount per kilometer.
Ugo is a joint venture of Ugo and Transvision. Transvision was born in 1988, first as Traintaxi, then as a 100% subsidiary of NS. Now it is a 50-50 partnership between the Rotterdam Mobiliteit Centrale (RMC) and BIOS Group, one of the country’s largest transportation companies dealing with social contract work and and urgent ambulance servies. Michiel Huisman, also the founder go Couverts.nl, and Mark Stephan, one of the founders of Drive Ugo, are the names behind the new concept. Ugo generally works with taxi companies which have the TXkeur quality label.
• Michiel Huisman and René van der Veer (CEO Transvision) are the names behing the new concept.