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To Taxi or to Transfer – that, is the question

While communicating with colleagues at industry events, we’ve repeatedly noticed that not all travel professionals can draw the line between taxis and transfer services. Whenever we’re privy to an open discussion about the transfer, there’s always the question – are you talking about football or card payments?

The difference between the two is rather superficial.

Taxi services (including ride-hailing apps) provide rides ‘here and now, whereas transfer services operate on a pre-order-only basis.

Since we are dealing with a pre-ordered service and an on-the-spot, pay-as-you-go service, we, as the user, have different expectations for each. In the first case, we expect the immediate arrival of a car after just a few taps on our smartphone. In the second case, we expect the reliable and guaranteed delivery of the car at the appointed time. This basic difference leads to the emergence of fundamentally different business models while enabling the appearance of externally similar, but completely different services.

Let’s talk about these differences between the models in more detail.

First, let’s talk about taxis.

Nowadays, we expect a taxi to arrive within 3-5 minutes after we’ve ordered it. If the wait drags on, we start to get frustrated (although we should be surprised at the technological breakthrough that made it possible to implement such a model; ten years ago, these waiting times were infeasible).

To ensure the quick arrival of a car, the taxi service must have thousands of active drivers ready to accept orders. To do this, the company needs a giant fleet of drivers, which they can attain by taking advantage of the low barriers to entry.

Do you remember the basic message with which Uber entered the market in 2012-2013? It went something like this: “Anyone can be a taxi driver. In the morning, you might be a student, an accountant, or a doctor, but in the evening you are a driver. This is normal.” Uber’s market entrance reflected the urgent need to get drivers on the road to provide an unprecedented level of convenience to the consumer.

When we know that anyone can drive a vehicle, we don’t expect much from the service. For us, it’s enough to know that the car will be modern, the driver will arrive quickly and the atmosphere within the cabin will be calm and silent.

Everything is a little different when we have an important trip ahead of us. For example, to or from the airport. In this case, our expectations and requirements increase significantly. We’re trusting that the driver will arrive on time, shall drop us off on time, and track the flight to spot delays in advance.

It’s even more difficult when we order a car for another person — there’s no room for error. There’s added stress regarding reliability, ordering in advance, and we ought to organize a sign too if it’s an airport pickup.

Can a taxi service provide all this with guarantees too? Well, it’s unlikely. The taxi business model just doesn’t focus on this. Instead, it’s focused on mass customer service, where the quantity of trips completed is the most important. When we’re talking about taxi services, the driver cannot wait for a particular guest for an hour at the airport, they cannot go to the terminal with a sign, and they aren’t interested in tracking the arrival time of the flight. Moreover, taxi services don’t appoint drivers in advance, giving them a maximum of 30 minutes’ notice before a trip.

Let’s move on to transfer services. What do we expect from them?

Transfer companies don’t provide your everyday city service. Transfers are inscribed in the chain of “airplane – car – hotel”. We subconsciously expect an equal level of service at all stages of a business trip. At the wheel, the driver is no less than the pilot of an aircraft. By the way, this is a neat psychological item that we explore through our marketing activities. We use branded signs at the airport and even go as far as using certain language, describing customers as “guests”. Sounds strange for a taxi, right?

Why can transfer services provide things that taxis cannot?

Ultimately, because orders are booked well in advance. It is not possible to order a transfer immediately, which means that there is no need for the mass recruitment of drivers to ensure their presence in every district of the city at any given time. Moreover, the volume of orders from such companies is of a completely different order. This allows you to select drivers more carefully; by nature, these drivers are going to be qualified, experienced, and will provide a much better service to their passengers.

Within a transfer service, the driver’s travel schedule is created in advance. This is both the strength and weakness of this type of service. The strength is that you get all the necessary information in advance, which increases your confidence in the quality of the service. The weakness is that when you change plans last minute or they change due to unforeseen circumstances, you often cannot cancel the reservation without a penalty — after all, the driver has already left on your order.

Will your quality expectations of support service differ? Of course. The very idea of calling ‘Uber’ seems strange; if we need to get in touch with the driver, we use the in-app chat function and wait for a response. If we call the transfer service, we expect to speak to a representative within two minutes.

In terms of conclusions, none of this makes one service better than the other. They just exist for different occasions. We’ll regularly use one on day-to-day travels within the city, while the other is reserved for special occasions such as holidays and business trips.

Although, there is one thing that gives the transfer service a clear advantage — the driver selection process. But, we’ll talk about that next time.

Dmitry Saraykin
Co-founder, Director of Development of i’way

 No comments    8   1 mon   i'way   taxi   transfer

Summing up the results of 2020. What was it like for i’way?

In the last days of the year soon to be departed, it is customary to take stock. Keeping with tradition, we have decided to tell you what we managed to achieve in the difficult year of 2020. In short, the year was completely atypical. But we have made every effort to, and have become more technologically advanced; our services are now even more convenient, while taking care of our customers is still our top priority.

Let’s take a look at some of the achievements of i’way over the past year:

1. We retained and expanded our team

We have kept our company and team. 2020 was a challenging year not only because of the pandemic, but also because of the crisis that ensued. This was most notable in the travel industry, which almost ceased to operate for some time due to closed borders. Despite this, i’way managed to keep its team, which continued to develop all of its services. We rebuilt communication, got used to remote work and learned how to work in the most unusual of conditions.

2. We launched a joint program with Aeroflot

Now our clients can receive Aeroflot Bonus miles for each trip that they take with i’way transfer. To do this, you need to indicate your personal account number in i’way’s mobile application. Miles will be accumulated after each trip.

3. Updated and improved Artificial Intelligence

Updating and improving our AI allows us to increase the processing speed of requests by the booking department (by about 90%).

4. Website redesign and mobile application improvement

We have updated the design of our website iway.io. Now it has become clearer, more visually appealing and lighter, for the convenience of our clients. Our mobile application has also been updated, which is now simply called i’way. By the way, you can download it from the App Store and the Google Play store.

5. We have updated the application for drivers ‘i’way driver’.

Now, the i’way driver app for drivers is available for download from the App Store. Also, in addition to receiving orders and tracking flights via the app, you can also track your income. The new version of the application has a tab named “Wallet”, via which you can track your earnings.

6. Improved collection of feedback from our customers

We have improved our feedback collection system to ensure that our system is constantly moving in the right direction. Thanks to this, the average travel rating has increased.

7. We have integrated our transfers into the S7 Airlines application

Now, an i’way transfer can be ordered from the mobile application of S7 Airlines. When ordering a transfer, you will receive miles directly to your S7 Priority card.

8. Implementation of additional services

We made a meeting with a sign in a separate service. Now the passenger decides whether to meet him with a sign or not.

In addition to this:

  • We have worked out a system for calculating driver ratings. Now, there will be even fewer unscrupulous drivers;
  • We improved the driver monitoring system to keep rides comfortable;
  • We introduced a push notification system for all users of our mobile applications;
  • We have improved the system of payment and additional payments by bank card.

This year was difficult and chaotic, forcing all of us to come up with new schemes on the fly and constantly rebuild our plans. But, despite this, we all became friendlier, more responsive and wiser.

Next year, we will continue our dialogues with clients and partners, expand our staff with new specialists and make our service even more convenient.

Thank you for being with us and trusting us. Happy New Year!

 No comments    85   11 mon   i'way   new year

What do you need to remember traveling with parents?

It’s great if your parents are fit, cheerful and sharing your interests like a go riding on ostriches or go to an immersive staging about coronavirus. But it happens that different generations have different interests.

Therefore, we know what you need to be prepared for if you decide to take mom and dad to the resort.

Insurance for seniors will be more expensive

For elders, as well as for children, the probability of an accident is statistically higher. Hence there is a natural increase in prices.
Thank progress, you can buy insurance online.

The relief matters

Even if your parents for the past 20 years was climbing, make allowances for their age. Try to avoid the stairs. No doubt, that parents are young at heart, but you all travel to chill, not to get tired.

Need to take medicine seriously

If your parent takes life-saving drug on a regular basis you need to follow some rules:
1) Recipes for them should be translated into national language of the country you go
2) Have a separate first-aid kit case for the parent to quickly find the right medicine
3) Take on board required amount of meds for parent needs if the flight will be delayed. And only in original packing!

Take care of comfortable arrival.

A long flight is difficult for the elderly: pressure drops, time zones change, etc. Book a transfer by i’way, then you don’t need to look for a taxi at a reasonable price all over the airport.

Order a transfer to anywhere in the world

You shouldn’t become a nanny

Although the roles change and with age children care about their parents more than vice versa, you need control yourself. Even in caring. Remember how you felt when you were overly patronized! Caring is not tantamount to custody.

... as well as your parents

If you travel with all three generations of your family, don’t “push” offsprings to grandparents. They have the right to relax, just like you.

“Let’s decide in progress” is a bad strategy

If your main goal is sightseeing, settle an issue amicably what places you want to visit together, and where you can take a walk alone. So you can avoid unnecessary resentment.

We also recommend taking a lot of photos: parents will look at them with joy and pride, recalling the time you spent together. 

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