Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

New app sees Valleys firm hit top gear! – #povertyinwales

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The people behind a new microenterprise, that’s been supported by Communities 2.0, say they’re proud to have been able to start a business in a deprived area. Working from offices in Aberdare, the Taxibeeper team has developed a smartphone app that aims to provide a safe, easy and effective process to request, negotiate and agree a licensed taxi or private hire fare, whilst meeting all requirements of the customer, taxi company and regulatory bodies.

Communities 2.0 is now offering support to microenterprises, where digital technologies are fundamental to the success of the business. One of the first microenterprises to receive support from the project was Taxibeeper. The concept for the app was developed from the personal experience of private hire taxi drivers in the UK. Richard Morgans, CEO, used to be a taxi driver. A request for a taxi is normally received either as a telephone booking or as a result of waiting at a taxi rank. Once the passenger has reached their destination, the driver must then return with an empty car and await further business.

Feedback from taxi drivers clearly demonstrated the need for a more efficient method of linking empty taxis with suitable passengers. Taxibeeper has developed, what is thought to be, a unique system which allows both private hire and licensed taxis to capitalise on available business, while providing the passenger with a safe and speedy service (all drivers will be proven as registered with a local authority). Initially available on the iOS platform, full mobile platform coverage will follow in the near future. Income is derived at £0.33 from each taxi fare completed (via the taxi beeper app).

To date, the business has concentrated on developing a solid infrastructure of interested taxi drivers.  Initial online promotion of the concept has already resulted in the registration of 350 licensed drivers.  This provides a solid platform from which the service can be launched. A careful balance needs to be achieved, in the early stages of the Taxibeeper app, between public (passenger) demand and taxi driver availability / supply.

Any app must be supported by an ongoing digital campaign to generate awareness, interest and use.  Taxibeeper already has a strong social media presence and following, which will help with converting solid leads into active users. The launch of the Taxibeeper app is the acid test for this new business.  Uptake will result in job creation and act as a catalyst for other app developers in Wales to take the next steps and launch their ideas.

Communities 2.0 provided Taxibeeper with £6,727 financial support, along with expert ICT advice and marketing support. This support will enable Taxibeeper to launch on the iPhone and Android markets and be promoted to taxi drivers and end users, i.e. general public.

Kath Stride, of Taxibeeper, said: “The project is an example of what can be achieved by ordinary people, regardless of the current economic climate. Based in the Cynon Valley, one of the UKs most deprived areas, the project was self funded and is a steep learning curve for all involved. We know there’s a lot of hard work ahead, but we’re proud of the progress we’ve made in a relatively short space of time.”

This is an example of how Communities 2.0 is supporting the Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty Action Plan.

 

Written by Mark Smith

November 7, 2013 at 8:20 am

Posted in co-operatives

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