Smart Taxi app allows anyone with a smartphone to hail a taxi, just like Uber and Lyft. The information on their website promises “…the convenience of getting a taxi ride at your finger tips, with speed and reliability from using the fastest growing taxi App in Nigeria & West Africa“ . I was certainly curious enough to take a closer look at what they have to offer.
Arguably, the word “taxi” is broadly used and understood in Nigeria than the word “cab”. Using it more extensively in the app documentation (instead of ‘cab’) is highly recommended.
Smart Taxi app does not state exactly how it handles (or will handle) personally identifiable information of passenger; most especially, the location data. As a matter of fact, this service will rely heavily on the passenger location data to deliver on its service promise efficiently; that means the app will track and store passenger data before pickup and in transit. A clear privacy statement is required.
It is not clear how pricing is determined given the unregulated pricing mechanism of this country. Could it be that Smart Taxi is targeting passengers with higher spending power ? A clear definition is a big deal as it matters to the lower market segment.
USER INTERFACE (THEME COLOR)
This is not usually taken seriously by startups, but “You are addressed by the way you dress.” The UI of the Smart Taxi website and app screenshots are cool (definitely like), but the theme color (s) is off. Theme color (s) should naturally be reflective on the corporate identity – the logo – whose color is green and deep yellow. So, it is standard practice to use more of green and/or deep yellow for buttons, links, emphases, etc. I recommend green. The use of blue and orange colors in the present theme seems to read a case of misplaced identity (no offence intended).
Smart Taxi might also want to share information on how the drivers will be vetted. Trust is a scarce commodity these days and passengers should have a measure of trust in whoever shows up to pick them, so please look into that. People generally trust the public and mass transit system because of what you might refer to as the ‘crowd mentality.” People assume the drivers in the public transit system are nice guys because some other stranger apparently think so too.
So a quick list:
- You need to address how drivers would be pre-qualified – pro/licensed drivers or mutual-friend-driver;
- What the minimum condition of taxi is; and
- If a passenger can reject a Taxi that does NOT meet their personal preference (I personally think this one sounds outrageous). Regardless, there has to be a way for passengers to leave feedback on their experience with a Smart Taxi driver.
Smart Taxi is a really cool startup with a potential to scale. In order to gain traction and kick-start on a sustainable growth path, it is a surer bet to target visitors who are arriving a city (‘JJC’ or not); that means partnering with established bus terminals, airport management, hotels and other players in the hospitality industry. By extension, this also means creating and maintaining a strong social network with these would-be passengers. Every other thing is above par and can be run with and we look forward to seeing Uber’s next big competitor.
Image credit: Smart Taxi