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Hyperlocal taxi situation to grab market



PHUKET: Myteksi, an on-demand taxi booking service in Malaysia, quickly diversified its branding and services offered by successfully expanding throughout Southeast Asia. MyTeksi remains the leading taxi-booking application in Malaysia, but is better known in Phuket, and much of the rest of the region, as GrabTaxi.

The company continues to work hand-in-hand with local government offices, after garnering the support of former Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong earlier this year, as it establishes its brand and pushes any competition (such as Uber) to the side. The most recent campaign saw the company team up with the Patong Municipality for the annual Patong Carnival, when it offered rides anywhere on the island to and from the party town for 100 baht.

The key to the company’s penetration into the infamous Phuket-taxi market is their focus on being ‘hyperlocal’.

“This means that we understand local issues and are able to leverage this local knowledge to build a viable business model that suits each community. For example, in Phuket, GrabCar (private hire vehicle service) passengers can key-in their address in English, but the drivers, who mainly only understand Thai, will see the address in Thai,” a GrabTaxi representative told the Phuket Gazette. “Our call center personnel also speak Thai, English and Chinese to aid coordination between drivers and tourists. Our drivers and passengers love this value-added service.”

“GrabCar is still new in Phuket, having launched only in September this year. Our focus now is on growing both supply and demand in Phuket, as well as on expansion plans. Regionally, we have over 141,000 drivers in the GrabTaxi network – inclusive of taxis, private hire vehicles and motorbikes.”

Since it’s launch in 2011, MyTeksi has expanded to 26 cities in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand. The company has also diversified its services to include taxis (GrabTaxi), private hire vehicles with drivers (GrabCar), motorbike taxis (GrabBike) and delivery services (GrabExpress).

Two of these services are currently available in Phuket: GrabTaxi and GrabCar.

“Response has been positive from both drivers and passengers. Passengers love the convenience and safety features that come with the app. They know who their driver is and can also see the fixed fare upfront. They can easily get a ride without the need to haggle. It has made travelling around Phuket much more convenient and stress-free,” the representative wrote to the Gazette. “The drivers are also seeing increased earnings. They don’t waste time sitting idle anymore as they have a continuous stream of bookings.”

With the support of the former Phuket Governor during their launch, the company has coordinated its price structure to match the requirements of the Phuket Land Transportation Office.

Meter rates start at 50 baht, with an additional 30 baht booking fee. However, the meter doesn’t start until after the driver has picked up his passenger(s), GrabTaxi’s website explains. In case of traffic jams, when the taxi cannot move more than 6 kilometers per hour, the fare is charged at 1 baht per minute. For airport pickups, which cost an additional 100 baht, passengers are required to make advance bookings, and can do so anywhere from two hours to seven days ahead of time.

The company’s pricing is adjusted for every market, taking into account the local dynamics of the area. This can be seen by reviewing the frequently asked questions section of its website.

“Right now, we’re really just focused on Southeast Asia. We want to be present in more cities and towns in this region. We’re aggressively hiring people to join us,” the representative wrote. “We want to do great, not just good, and for that we need not only the best minds but also the most passionate people who believe in GrabTaxi’s cause – that is, changing the way that 630 million people in Southeast Asia commute, and providing them with access to safe, affordable and reliable rides.”

— Isaac Stone Simonelli


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