The UK’s local cab operators came together to create a single booking service, for consumers and businesses. Marc Rozendal, chief executive of Cab Guru, explains the logic behind the app
What’s the pitch of Cab Guru?
We make it easy to book a cab from the UK’s independent operators. The smartphone app lets you compare prices between operators and then book a ride. The interface is similar to Uber. Use a map to set your pick-up point, or enter your own address, and a destination. Add extra stops along the way, if you need to pick up friends. You can chose vehicle type, if you need a specific car, MPV or minibus. Click and it’s booked. We are now a very popular app in the UK cab market and growing incredibly fast.
How is it better than Uber?
In terms of convenience, it’s a tight contest. We have 25,000 vehicles across the UK, with 12,000 in London. Our network includes executive, eco-friendly and wheelchair-accessible vehicles. On price, there is close competition. And our technology is world class. But Cab Guru has a long list of advantages over rivals. The main one is who we are and what we stand for. Cab Guru is owned by 34 UK cab companies. Each one is a local business, some of which have been around for decades. They care about the communities they serve. Their drivers know the local areas. And their service is better. You can ring our cab operators directly if you need to, which is impossible on Uber. We are seen by users as the friendly, ethical alternative.
What do you mean by ethical alternative?
There is a feeling that huge tech companies, across a variety of sectors, are focused on growth at all costs to please their venture-capital backers. That can lead to some unfriendly, and at times dubious, behaviour. By contrast, we take ethics and transparency very, very seriously. All our local operators and drivers are fully licensed and vetted. And logistics managers can track booked vehicles, upholding the duty of care owed to staff. Also, we are ethical regarding corporate behaviour. Take tax. Cab Guru is a UK-registered company and we pay full UK tax. No holding company in a tax haven for us. When you use Cab Guru your money stays in the UK and ends up in your local economy. Consumers care more and more about corporate behaviour and our ethics are one reason our user numbers are exploding.
Is Cab Guru also for businesses?
It’s our fastest growing segment. We’ve created an enterprise-grade interface, so businesses of all sizes can manage their Cab Guru account on desktop, tablet and mobile. A personal assistant can book a ride to the airport on our desktop application and the booking information is seamlessly shared with the executive doing the travelling on their Cab Guru app on smartphone or tablet. Our business application is function rich. It has a dashboard, so procurement, logistics or travel managers can monitor activity. There is analytics on budgets compared with expenditure, punctuality, spend, breakdown by departments and individuals, miles covered, car types used, employee current location, and other metrics, in real time. Expenses are processed in a seamless and paperless manner. No more fiddling about with paper receipts. This is a big deal for businesses. At the last London Travel Show, the burden of administration was one of the key issues. Our product helps businesses streamline their travel operations.
Do you supply environmental data?
We do. More and more businesses are committed to measuring, reporting and reducing their carbon emissions. Our fleets offer electric and hybrid cars, and our service provides full CO₂ emission reporting. This helps businesses fulfil their environmental obligations and be as green as they can be.
People could simply book a cab directly with the operator?
They could. But we provide so many benefits. We provide 24/7 support. You get live tracking on the app. Our coverage is UK wide, whereas individual cab operators stick to narrow regions. Cab Guru was created to unify the offerings of the leading ground transport providers, giving consumers national coverage. We provide SMS notification. Pay by cash or card, which not all services offer. For businesses, there is the option of flexible payment terms. And the price comparison service is a core service of Cab Guru. You can see all the options and make your choice based on the information. When you see what you can save, maybe you’ll upgrade to an executive vehicle for a long trip. Our goal was to create the ultimate user-friendly booking app and that’s what we’ve done.
What is the future for Cab Guru?
We will become the default app for booking a cab. Consumers will use us for price, speed and service. Our ethical positioning will continue to give us a unique reputation. And businesses will adopt our enterprise application, because of the variety of functions it offers. We can become the dominant player in the UK business ground transportation sector. Cab Guru is uniting the vast infrastructure of licensed taxi and local private hire operators into a single integrated network. Our technology is world class and is set to keep evolving. It’s a powerful proposition and I am delighted to be at the helm of Cab Guru as it grows market share.
Install the Cab Guru app via the Google Play or Apple App Store
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