Waterloo Taxi stepping up

Contributed Image

Contributed Image

With almost 70 years of service, Waterloo Taxi plans to be at the forefront of taxi service innovation within the region through their fully integrated app set to launch on September 1.

The free app will be equipped with a number of features that aim to be inclusive of all customers. A few highlighted features that differentiate the app from others already available are its ability to accept accessibility requests and multiple ways of payment for customers looking for a taxi.

For example, if a customer needs a wheel-chair accessible taxi, they are able to specify their request in the app. A customer also has the options to pay through credit card or pay in-person with cash, unlike other similar apps that only take credit payments.

The app is interactive as it allows for communication between the driver and passenger. If the pick-up point for the passenger has changed, they can send a message, which will be sent directly to the driver. The customer will also be able to know their driver, the car number and can track the taxi upon its arrival on Google maps.

Tony Rodriguez, Waterloo Taxi’s director of marketing, said Waterloo Taxi is only the second company in Canada to offer in-app payment. He adds that the company is hoping to add the OneCard and WatCard on its list of payment options in the future.

“The intent is to be progressive. We want to be the leaders in the industry,” said Rodriguez.

The planning and execution of the idea occurred a little over a year ago, and Rodriguez said the plan was always in place regardless of other services like Uber or Lyft.

“We knew that Uber was around, alive and well but … it’s something that we knew we were going to do and we wanted to do it as well as we possibly could and we certainly didn’t rush it,” Rodriguez said.

The company hopes to have 1500 app users within the first 30 days of its launch. Peter Neufeld, president of Waterloo Taxi and former president of the Waterloo Region Taxi Association, said innovation is a key factor in succeeding in the taxi industry.

“Technology advances so rapidly and the taxi industry isn’t exempt from that. We have to keep up with the latest technology, make it as convenient as possible for the customer — that’s basically our main goal,” said Neufeld.

Rodriguez and Neufeld indicate that the overall theme of this change is seamlessness. The company emphasizes convenience for their customers. “It’s all about convenience, we’re trying to make this as easy a transaction as possible for the consumer,” said Neufeld.

Waterloo hopes to integrate tablets in their cars within the next year with the hopes of upgraded communication between the company and the customer. This is just one idea as Rodriguez indicates there is much more in store for the company.

“So we continue to go with the times or what is demanding of the industry … or what is demanding of our customer base. We’ll continue to move forward. There’s no doubt.”

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