Taxi booking apps are booming in Southeast Asia, and Philippines may be the next big market. Rocket Internet announced today that it will be launching Easy Taxi, its own taxi booking service with a presence in 41 cities, in the Philippines.
Started in Brazil in 2011, the service has garnered 1.5M downloads and registered 45,000 taxi drivers on its network. The app is available on iOS, Android, and Blackberry.
Easy Taxi is not the first cab app to set foot in the Philippines. GrabTaxi, by Malaysian startup MyTeksi, launched there in July this year. The service charges a PHP 70 (USD 1.60) fee on top of the meter rate, and currently has engaged more than 1,000 taxi drivers.
The company is also launching in Thailand, and has begun hiring an operations coordinator through Startup Jobs Asia.
Malaysia has demonstrated that there is intense demand for such taxi apps in places where the reliability of taxi services are in doubt. Tourists especially are vulnerable to taxi drivers who overcharge and insist on exorbitant flat fees instead of going by the meter. It’s a common problem in many Asian countries.
There’s plenty of mud-slinging between taxi app companies in Malaysia, according to TechCrunch, where at least four brands — MyTeksi, Easy Taxi, Hopcab, and TaxiMonger — vie for attention.
Rumors are rife that Easy Taxi staff have approached cab drivers with MyTeksi decals to hop over to the Rocket Internet outfit, even helping them delete the MyTeksi app.
However, an Easy Taxi rep has denied the rumors. He told TechinAsia: “It is not our policy to remove MyTeksi’s app from drivers phone – in fact it is the other way round. What we have been doing is remove our own app from drivers phones for the sake of their income if we hit an overlapped driver.”
Meanwhile, the MyTeksi software for taxi drivers is able to scan the phone for the Easytaxi app and would prompt users to uninstall it if found.