The number of taxi drivers in Prague is growing, but the number of passengers remains the same. Therefore, those vehicles accumulate in the city in the off-peak periods. At that time, Liftago wants to get its “drivers” involved in the courier services. They plan to start with packages, and move on to food deliveries over time.
It’s ten in the morning. The time when the taxis’ morning peak is long gone and there are still a few hours till noon. “These are the times when the entire taxi service is at a standstill, but drivers do not leave the city because it is not worth it,” explains Liftago co-founder Ondřej Krátký. He realized that the taxi drivers could be delivering packages and parcels at this time.
They would thus interconnect two worlds: growing companies that do not have enough drivers to deliver their goods, and taxi drivers who are currently unoccupied.
„We have always thought that more people sharing taxis would result in more effective transportation. But what we have found is, that there would either need to be cheap taxis or enough of them to overwhelm the city. This would inevitably lead to competition with public transportation. At that time, the idea of seemingly unrelated pairing businesses, was born,” explains Krátký.
Instead of sharing a taxi, the company would pair people and goods. Nowadays, Liftago has reviewed all market segments and found that delivering almost anything could fit with their vision. Therefore, perhaps the number of vehicles in Prague could decline. For example, according to Krátky, when delivering parcels, an online marketer can easily persuade his customers to order goods for certain hours – if they offer them a cheaper price.
As of the last year, the company began to prepare for its new role and established cooperation with the online retailer Alza.cz. They analyze data and optimize courier operations together, so that the same cars can carry people as well as parcels, both individually and simultaneously.
Delivery partners will add up soon, and food delivery is also considered. “Our vision is to fulfill any transport demand. Food delivery fits into this vision,” adds Krátký.
Liftago has been operating in the Czech market since 2013. It connects licensed taxi drivers with passengers through a free mobile application. The fees the driver pays to the company for joining the system vary depending on how often they drive.
„The system is set up to motivate the driver to help build the platform with us. If the driver increases his weekly drives with us, the fee is lower. The minimum is ten-to-eleven percent,” says Krátký.