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INTERVIEW: Autocab's CEO Safa Alkateb talks taxi industry and plans for 2021 and beyond


Image credit: Autocab

Autocab, a supplier of taxi booking and dispatch systems, takes to the TaxiPoint hotseat this month. Having sold their first system in 1991, Autocab has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of booking and dispatch systems in the world.


Safa Alkateb, CEO of Autocab, runs through plans for 2021, thoughts on how the industry will recover and of course, more on the high-profile Uber acquisition.

The pandemic has hit the taxi and private hire industry hard. How quickly do you see the sector recovering as easement of restrictions continues?


We see demand making a steady recovery over the coming months. We have already seen a rise in trips since the reopening of hospitality venues and we expect this to increase when more lockdown restrictions are eased and commercial flights resume in May.


Do you see any new opportunities for the taxi and private hire industry post-coronavirus restrictions?


One of the biggest opportunities for the trade as a whole is the movement of 'things' as well as people. With the introduction of a hybrid passenger and delivery service, we believe operators can unlock an entirely new vertical which will increase their business exponentially. By building relationships with local businesses, as restrictions ease, taxi companies will become the first port of call for hospitality businesses, enabling firms to safeguard their businesses in the future.

How do you see the Autocab and Uber acquisition helping the taxi and private hire industry?


Every month thousands of people open the Uber app in places the company doesn’t operate to try to get a trip. Through Autocab’s iGo marketplace, Uber will be able to connect these riders with local operators who choose to take their booking. In turn, operators should be able to expand their operations and offer more earnings opportunities to local drivers.


Autocab’s mission has always been to encourage local private hire and taxi operators to transform their businesses, and I believe that Uber’s technology can help accelerate Autocab’s global ambition and the growth of their customers’ businesses.


Will any booking and journey data be shared between Autocab and Uber?


Uber will put in place everything that is required to protect Autocab’s customers’ data, ensure that it is not misused and is always managed under all applicable laws and the terms of their contracts with Autocab.


What has the response been like from operators on the Autocab network regarding Uber’s purchase?


The response from an overwhelming majority of Autocab operators has been fantastic. Over 40 operators have already signed MOUs with Uber and are keen to start working with them. The first pilot cities will be launching very soon, and we can't wait to see how the partnership develops over the coming months.


What are Autocab’s plans for 2021 and beyond?


Growth. Autocab already has a SaaS presence in over 20 countries, and Uber plans to support Autocab’s expansion of its SaaS and iGo presence internationally. We will continue to develop our market leading and award-winning products and software and we look forward to welcoming new customers along the way from across the globe!

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