Long before Uber and Grab dominated the lanes of Cebu, there was Micab, a Cebuano-made mobile application that made taxi hailing stress-free and accessible. Eddie Ybañez, founder and CEO of Micab Systems Corp., worked with Kenneth Baylosis to perfect the Micab app, which has since been made available for passengers to use in Cebu City, Metro Manila, Baguio, Bacolod and Iloilo.
The idea for a text-based taxi-hailing service first came to Ybanez and micab co-founder Baylosis at a Startup Weekend event where a plan was also crystallized.
Micab was soon after launched, in 2012 servicing the major cities of Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod and Baguio. The app was well-received by many and emboldened by favorable feedback, micab proceeded to open a market operation in Manila.
The Micab founders’ advocacy is for the country to enjoy an upgraded taxi experience; one that is clean, comfortable, and modern and run by drivers who are friendly, welcoming, and courteous. Micab further aims to eliminate the long queues of passengers in taxi stands and the general difficulty of hailing a taxi in Philippine cities. On the other end, drivers who participate in the Micab system are assured of passengers who are willing to pay for comfort and reliability.
A Challenge and an Opportunity
The metro is a haven of multifaceted workforce of business developments and client and relationship managements. Time is of the essence. Compliance and adherence matter to the individuals who part of the business. Otherwise, it is a missed opportunity. On the down side, the traffic is the result of an ever-growing number of vehicle owners, contributing to the daily grind and carmageddon. Ridesharing giants Uber and Grab paved way for an easier and most comfortable travel to work with no fuss. However, the volume of vehicles registered with both were insufficient to support the bigger number of commuters.
The moment that Eddie saw the problem and realized that he had the technological means to solve it, he was inspired to get it done and build MiCab. But what has kept him going is the realization that if this succeeds, it adds not just convenience, but it could affect people’s livelihoods and lives for the better.
He felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime privilege to be part of something that can help change the transportation landscape in the Philippines for the better, and he decided to not pass up the opportunity.
Over the years, taxis and taxi drivers themselves have gained quite a negative reputation especially in the Metro. With the help of Micab, they hope to break the current barriers between the cabs and the riders through their Taxi 2.0 solution. This begins with the clean and modernized cabs in the service areas that will send the rider to their destination. In addition, as a result of the pre-on boarding seminars for the drivers, they are now trained how to handle customer service properly. Micab drivers can be expected to be well-mannered, friendly and courteous.
The app offers a vital role for the taxi driver partners by helping them to earn back the trust of the daily commuters– giving the latter a safer and better ride with the Taxi 2.0 system. To ensure a smoother ride for the passengers, Micab conducts a comprehensive training program for the drivers. Not only that, the up-to-date app also comes with a “rate your driver” feature that will be monitored and addressed by the company with the help of the LTFRB. This is to ensure that Micab is making lives and livelihood better for everyone.
Micab’s entry in Manila is to address the issues plaguing the ridesharing market. Its primary edge against other competitors is that it won’t be charging booking fees and do surge pricing because the business is supported by its ad service, MiAds. Whatever the existing fare structure is, that’s what passengers have to pay, making it more accessible and affordable for riders.
Addressing bad driver behavior.
Before, there was no platform, no system for taxis. It was just the passenger and the driver who knew what was going on during the trip. If the driver did something, only the passenger would know – unless he/she posts it on Facebook or any other social media outlet.
With Micab now, passengers have the power to report, to rate the driver, to commend the driver or file a complaint. The moment a 3-star rating is reported – even without details – Micab’s customer service will call the passenger and driver to investigate. Depending on the severity of the complaint, the drivers may be forced to go under re-training, or they will be taken off the platform, penalized by the operator, or if it’s a criminal offense, government agencies can step in, and impose penalties. The driver’s license can get suspended for the next 3 months, 6 months or 1 year – that’s an existing ruling at the LTFRB.
Micab shares the system with the taxi operators and the government agencies.
Currently, the average waiting time is 10 minutes, but we’re still ramping up in Manila. But it has since then reduced since there was a ramp in Manila. The moment more cabs get activated – it’s just supply and demand, really – ride acceptance becomes faster.
Customer Feedback to Improve Driver Behavior
One of the top complaints of Metro Manila commuters is their habit of charging extra for conveying passengers to remote destinations or when road congestion is really terrible and unforgiving. A related complaint is that many drivers refuse to take passengers going to distant or painfully congested locations.
Micab founders believe that the widespread use of the ride-hailing app’s driver rating feature will reward good drivers while filtering out the bad apples This action requires the support of the riders. They need the riding public to help Micab filter the well-performing drivers from the bad ones with their rating system. Micab can only do so much, even when they let drivers undergo driver training. Micab still requires the assistance of the public crowdsource performance rating to ensure the goods ones stay in the platform.
Making lives and livelihood better.
Micab is committed to the safety of everyone using the platform. Micab uses technology to ensure the safety of their riders and drivers before, during, and after every ride. When you’re online, your vehicle’s route and location are tracked by GPS.
Both riders and drivers are required to verify personal information when setting up their accounts. This private information is confidential and retained to confirm identity. When you’re on your way to a pickup location or destination, the rider’s app displays your first name and photo, vehicle make and model, and license plate number.
After every trip, riders and driver-partners are asked to rate each other and provide feedback before requesting or accepting another ride. Should you choose to leave a 3 or lower star rating for a driver, the system is notified and customer service will get in touch to investigate why the rating is unsatisfactory.
With an ever increasing number of incidents relating to cab drivers and riders being reported nowadays, cab aggregators today need to devise ways and means to ensure driver and rider safety.
Micab, for one has shared their system with the taxi operators and the government agencies.
Micab continues to make sure the big part of the job is in safeguarding that the drivers get the right kind of training and development. This includes behavior, nuances of interacting with the rider and understanding body languages. While people skills are of a great importance to ensure a comfortable driving and riding experience, Micab remains focused on harnessing and improving their technology
Micab will continue push the bar higher as we push the service and technology further. Every response and every experience are in line with the vision to always deliver and create possibilities. Micab is part of a bigger community that aspires to continuously innovate an entire industry.
This is what drives Micab to do better. Micab continues to provide excellent customer service and will be at the center of it all. Micab will get you anywhere, safe and sound.