MiCab: Disrupting the Disruptors
Providing access to efficient and affordable transportation services is a major hurdle that many developing countries face. Society has in fact come a long way in terms of innovating various modes of moving around the city, from using horses and camels, carriages, steam locomotives to more modern forms such as cabs, trains, buses and in a local Philippine context, tricycles and jeepneys.
However, with the arrival of creative ways to go from place to place using ride sharing services coupled with the insufferable congestion surrounding Metro Manila, this has in turn generated a new market segmentation in which there are individuals who would be willing to pay a premium rather than joining the fray that is public transport. It’s pretty difficult to pin the blame on them, as these new options offer convenience and comfort while braving through the bottleneck that poor infrastructure planning brought about many, many years ago. It definitely beats having to line up for at least half an hour and then getting mushed inside a train with a bunch of other people like a can of sardines. With more and more vehicles being purchased and registered each day, the roads become more congested and so a new governing organization popped up as a result: The Transport Network Vehicle Services or better known as TNVS.
A TNVS accredited entity is defined as an organization wherein passengers are paired to drivers who provide mobility services by means of using mobile web services or applications. The first TNVS operation in the Philippines started in 2015, when Grab entered the market. Soon after, the now-defunct ride-hailing giant from the west Uber followed suit. Since then, there have been numerous applications under TNVS provisions but most have failed to comply with the government agency handling the transportation services.
With that being said, disruption is not always as beneficial as it may seem at first, as with it comes a slew of problems that come up, with most having a negative effect on cities, industries and the environment in general. While the convenience of calling for a mode of transportation via mobile phones changed the way we do commerce forever, this also meant that people were open to exploit this new model for their own benefit. Within the span of a year, transport service providers found a way to take advantage of this system by way of using these services for their own business. Bear in mind that the essence of these applications was to simply alleviate the need for more vehicles on the road by providing an option to share a ride, but in emerging markets like the Philippines, this backfired and operators did the complete opposite. Not only did more vehicles pop up on the roads causing more traffic, but even former taxi drivers were forced to defer and convert to either Grab or Uber and settle for less daily profit due to the surge of this new business model.
Fast forward three years later and the market has matured significantly and much has happened since then. Uber’s entire SEA operations unit was acquired by Grab and prices have skyrocketed due to the lack of competition. Luckily, there are a few local companies that have risen to the occasion as of late, each with their own unique models and innovative conventions to chip market dominance away from the big players. One such startup belongs to the Launchgarage portfolio and seeks to give a share of the industry back to public transport providers by way of integrating the original ride hailing formula with the forthcoming regulations lined up for the Philippines.
Introducing MiCab, a newly approved Transport Network Company (TNC) that focuses more on driving business and growth for public transportation units and decongesting traffic. MiCab started its operations in Cebu and Iloilo and more recently, Metro Manila. MiCab differs from its competitors by providing public hailing services to riders. Its competitors, which are TNVS, are focused on providing private cars for hailing services . MiCab aims to support taxi drivers and operators by helping them regain the trust of the Filipino public through safer, more convenient services infused with modern technologies. MiCab is a fast-growing platform with thousands of bookings every month and an ideal model which does not involve any sort of booking fee for its riders and instead relies on a subscription from its network of drivers — the complete opposite of what Grab has been doing when they shifted their focus to utilizing private vehicles as their primary service. Furthermore, the price for these rides do not surge nor inflate depending on the traffic, as it simply functions like a normal cab would using a meter to decide on the fare. Just like any other TNVS, MiCab ensures safe and secure rides by providing the user the details of the taxi as well as the driver that they will be booking. Taxi drivers still have the option to accept riders along the way given that they will turn on the MiCab Booking application on their phones.
MiCab recently closed a $115,000 bridge-round investment deal with AsiaLink Finance Corporation to expand their services and to fulfill their long-term vision which is to decongest traffic in the metro. Not only did Asialink Finance Corporation provide monetary support for MiCab, but they also helped boost their operations using their various resources within their network.
Furthermore, MiCab also recently tied up with PLDT as they plan to expand their services to other key cities in the country. PLDT helps with the operations of MiCab by providing mobile data to the taxis therefore lowering the cost of operations for MiCab.
As MiCab plans to scale up to different key cities in the country, their vision as a company still remains the same, which is to alleviate traffic congestion in capital cities and simultaneously make people trust the taxi operators again. MiCab Founder and CEO Eddie Ybañez says that they are aware that they can’t solve this problem instantaneously but with the right partners in the industry who have same vision as them, they would be able to resolve these problems sooner rather than later.
To know more about MiCab, visit their website below:
You can also try out MiCab which is now available in the Google Play store and Apple App store.