The Uber of Athens
In 2011, Nikos Drandakis launched an app connecting people and taxis in Athens.
June 21, 2015
Nikos Drandakis launched Taxibeat, a mobile phone taxi-hailing app that helps people find taxis, in his home city of Athens in 2011. The app lets people see not just what taxis are available near them, but also gives ratings for each driver and other information such as their car model and languages spoken.
Taxibeat’s revenues come principally from independent taxi drivers, who pay a small commission on all business the app brings them. Passengers pay nothing to use the app. Ratings go in both directions, with passengers rating drivers and drivers rating passengers.
The hardest thing to start with, says Nikos, was getting a critical mass of drivers and customers. Greece’s economic problems helped here. As well as pushing down software writers’ salaries, taxi drivers were keen to explore new ways of recovering some of the business they lost after the country’s economy collapsed during the global financial crisis.
Nikos is now taking Taxibeat to other countries both across Europe and also in Latin America, where it is becoming increasingly popular in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil and in Mexico City.
Text and photographs by Francesco Lastrucci
Taxi drivers pay Taxibeat a commission of €0.50 for each passenger the app brings them.
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