SnappCab aims to change the way South Africans use cab services by enabling commuters with smartphones to order, track and pay for cab services on-the-go. Newly launched and locally developed, the multiplatform smartphone application (app) will initially be introduced in Johannesburg in early September, with Cape Town and Durban launches following shortly thereafter.
The innovative trio behind SnappCab – Anton van Metzinger, Nathan Sasto and David Storey – has a two-fold vision: Get more South Africans out of their privately owned cars using cab services, and create jobs.
“South Africans are relatively new to the use of metered cabs. While the industry is growing, people are often wary of using a cab service largely because of lack of accessibility, variable quality and non-transparent pricing,” says Van Metzinger.
“Our intention is that SnappCab will provide cab users with an easy, safe and reliable means of hailing a cab, while at the same time supporting the development and growth of the industry.”
Available for free download on iOs, Windows, Blackberry and Android smartphones, SnappCab is easy to use and will make commuting quick and convenient. Once downloaded, users need only log into the app and register their details once, and their account will be automatically activated.
When hailing a cab, SnappCab users need to follow these simple steps:
* Log into the app on your smartphone, and the app will automatically find your location;
* Click on the button to “e-hail” a cab, and you will automatically be connected to the closest cabs to your physical location;
* You can open the request to any cab in the area, or you can specify that you will only accept responses from your preferred cab companies, which can be pre-selected and saved;
* When a cab driver accepts the call with his/her mobile device, locations are shared between the two parties along with the estimated time of arrival, identifying photos, names and contact details;
* You can then track the cab’s progress as it approaches, making sure that it is easy for you to connect with each other. And if your attention wanders, or your phone goes to sleep, an SMS will alert you once the cab is outside to pick you up; and
* Vehicle tracking continues while you are in transit, as the SnappCab operations centre monitors the vehicle’s location for the duration of your journey.
Once the journey is complete, commuters can pay for the service using cash or by using a credit card – which they can load onto their account with SnappCab at any time. Credit card details are kept safely and securely with MyGate – a Level 1 PCI Certified South African payment gateway.
More than one person can be given access to a SnappCab account, which means that children can carry a phone loaded with the application and call a cab when they are ready to go home from a school or social activity, saving working parents time.
The family need only set up an account that any member can utilise without the hassle of paying upfront. This can be duplicated for businesses, making employee travel quicker and easier to monitor.
Users can evaluate their experience through the app which provides valuable information to other users of the application, while incentivising drivers to offer the best possible service – those that receive the best ratings are likely to be requested by other commuters. Frequent users, and credit card payments, are rewarded by earning SnappMiles, which they will be able to redeem for services as the application evolves.
SnappCab is developing alliances with key cab companies in all three cities for the pilot phase, and will continue to grow this network in order to service the expected demand thereafter. These cab companies will be receiving training to use the technology and have also been given a smartphone for each vehicle, which functions as a ‘Driver Box’ – used to accept the calls from smartphones, and manage the trip process.
“What we are hoping for is a positive and mutually beneficial relationship,” says Van Metzinger. “We envisage the steady adoption of the app which will spur on cab companies to join the network. In turn this will encourage more commuters to use this fun, efficient and easy means to access public transport.”
“We have conducted extensive research into similar applications that are available abroad in cities where cabs are a part of everyday life. By applying this knowledge we are developing a locally relevant service that supports all South Africans, and that will help grow the cab industry to its full potential,” he concludes.