Move Over Uber, There's a New Taxi Service in Town

If you can’t fight them, join them.

That may have been partial motivation for eCab, a smartphone application born from the international alliance of taxi companies and incubated by Taxis G7, Europe’s leading taxi company. 

Established in 2014, presumably in response to the expanding reign of Uber, eCab commenced operation in eight major French cities, Paris included, as well as in Brussels, Amsterdam, and Dublin. It later stretched its reach to North America (Toronto and Vancouver) and India. As of mid-March this year, eCab has officially descended upon Lebanon.






Here’s how it works.

Open the smartphone app (download here for Android or Apple), and eCab instantly geolocates you. In one click, order a cab and track the driver’s trajectory on your screen.

Like Uber, you can select distinct levels of service. But unlike Uber, you can pay in cash and book in advance, depending on your ride type:
      
eCab is the simple and reliable option, with immediate booking and in-car payment. That's right, you can pay the driver in cash.

eCab+ features premium vehicles and allows for pre-booking up to 15 days in advance, an awesome facility Uber fails to offer. eCab+ boasts priority on-demand booking and in-app payment.

eCab VIP goes beyond eCab+, throwing in luxury sedans, carefully curated drivers, and amenities such as water, newspapers, and phone chargers.

The app is akin to Uber in modality, permitting passengers to view available vehicles, estimate fares for routes, input promotional codes, rate drivers at the end of their trip, check bills, receive invoices by email, and the like.

Where Uber is a loose network of independently-owned cars, eCab relies exclusively on established and reliable taxi services who know the local topography like the backs of their hands. 

In Lebanon, eCab has partnered up with Allo Transport SAL, which has been serving the local community since 1999. Presently running a fleet of 200 vehicles, Allo Taxi receives over 1,500 calls and transports roughly 6,000 people on any given day. This is no easy feat, so it goes without saying that Allo Taxi runs a tight ship (er, vehicle).



eCab operates in Lebanon through Allo Taxi



Founder and chief operating officer Raja Kurban -- also associated with Kurban Travel, Kurban Tours, Avis and Budget (Lebanon) -- has been a pioneer in taxi services in Lebanon. Not only does Allo Taxi have its own regulations and protocols when it comes to training drivers, but they were also the first to launch a mobile application booking service in 2014 to connect customers to drivers. Kurban recognized that people are evermore reliant on technology as a form of convenience, so they adapted to their needs.

In fact, a glance at Allo Taxi’s swanky website gives you an impression of how savvy and professional Allo Taxi is, and if that is any gauge of eCab’s outlook in Lebanon, I’d say it’s looking rosy.

I have already used eCab over a dozen times, not only within Beirut but in the mountain suburbs of Mansourieh as well. Its interface is as facile and intuitive as Uber’s, allowing you to save favorite or recent addresses. However, the level of detail is still a little crude, so rather than specify an exact point of interest on Lebanon's winding landscape, naming a street will do. The Allo Taxi chauffeur will then call you to get exact coordinates.

Prices compete with those of Uber. Here's the scheme:

eCab : $1.30 + $0.40/km + $0.12/min (min. charge $4)
eCab+: $4.00 + $0.50/km + $0.20/min (min. charge $7)
eCab VIP: $6.00 + $0.40/km + $0.20/min (min. charge $14)


I've teamed up with eCab to get you $10 off your next trip with eCab+ or eCab VIP. All you have to do is enter the code "BEIRUTISTA" under the Promo tab in the corner-right menu to get an automatic $10 deduction on your forthcoming ride.

So go on, get grooving and moving!


If you have any questions or feedback, connect with eCab on Facebook and Twitter.



French Ambassador to Lebanon H.E. Emmanuel Bon introduced eCab
at a press conference organized in Beirut 16 Mar 2016




Comments

  1. I have never used Uber or eCab. When i need a ride, i call Charlie Taxi and they will be there on the double! My experience with Allo Taxi wasn't a pleasant one. I was victim to a hit and run. Unfortunately, i tried multiple times to contact them and voice my complaint, however no one would take my call. :( Boo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awful! I'm sure that's not in line with their customer service strategy. Let's hope someone from the Allo Taxi team sees this and addresses you immediately.

      Delete
    2. Serene, email your comments to comments@allotaxi.com and I am positive they will get back to you. Every time I have an issue, I email them and they will call me back fast. Try it and good luck.

      Delete
    3. Serene, I have succeeded to get in touch with Mr. Raja Harb, COO of Kurban Group who oversee Allo Taxi, as well as MarCom Supervisor, Ms. Ghinwa Dandache. I was told they would be reaching out to you ASAP.

      Delete
    4. Dear Serene,

      Thank you for your comments and the time spent to share with us your experience with Allo taxi.
      Kindly note that we answer all our clients comments in a timely manner. While checking our records, we didn't record any complaint under your name. If can please email us your contact information at comments@allotaxi.com in order to investigate your case.
      We will be looking forward hearing from you.

      Allo Taxi

      Delete
    5. Thank you! I will be in touch with you shortly.

      Delete
  2. The idea of cashless system in Lebanon is doomed to fail, at least for now. That's why Uber is not taking off, and eCab may have a shot. One question though: Are Allo Taxi vehicles fitted with taximeters? If not, why not? How would I know whether my cab fare wouldn't vary according to the kind of shirt I am wearing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great question, as always, Samir. They had better be! How else are they measuring distance traveled, right? But they're not readily on display as you see them in cabs across Europe and the US, so maybe for transparency's sake Allo Taxi could outfit all their cabs with taximeters as you suggest.

      Delete
  3. How many free rides did you get to write this unbiased post? Btw, Uber also offers the cash payment option.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you could just quote one line in the article that isn't objective or factual, I'll eat my words. I took an active interest in eCab since it debuted in Lebanon four months ago, and by taking several partially subsidized trips, I've helped improve the overall effectiveness and accuracy of the app. And for your information, this article was in no way sponsored, paid or commissioned. I'm known to support and highlight the plight of underdogs, especially when I see ethics, integrity and potential at work.

      Delete
    2. And if you want copies of the invoices, shoot me an email.

      Delete

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