Kiwi pair zooms to market with taxi ordering app

Kiwi pair zooms to market with taxi ordering app

Former telco execs James Fisk and Neil Macdonald have hit the ignition switch on a new app for taxi booking called Zoomy, developed by Auckland company Roam.

The co-founders had the idea for the app about 12 months ago and recently won backing from Grab One CEO Vaughan Magnusson and marketing director Campbell Brown. Entrepreneur Jeremy Ullrich, director of Ullrich Holdings, is chairman and a shareholder.

Available for iPhone and Android phones, the app uses GPS to show passengers the cloest taxi available and lets them choose the type of taxi they want, from a budget car to an eco-friendly vehicle or van.

“Ordering a cab will be fast, safe, easy and smart and you’ll never have another conversation with a call centre about how far away a taxi is or isn’t,” says Fisk.

The driver's photo, name and license plate are visible to the passenger, and drivers and passengers can rate each other's experience. So far Zoomy has 16 taxi companies on board in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and hopes to roll the app out in four more cities by the end of the year.

By 1 December it also wants to introduce a payment system where passengers can store their credit card details and pay within the app, using the DPS gateway.

The app goes the extra mile for drivers and approved taxi organisations, showing them in real time how many calls they've received, response times and feedback from users.

Zoomy has even set up a driver training centre in downtown Auckland, where drivers can learn to use the app over coffee and free wi-fi. Drivers will be charged a fee per completed ride, which has yet to be finalised, but will be free for the first month.

Roam developer Chris Moore has worked on the app for about the last six months with Fisk and Macdonald. Among the company's previous work is apps for Telefonica, Tip Top Popsicle, the augmented reality music video Shapeshifter Monarch and the Vender Mender game.

Zoomy follows another locally-developed taxi booking app, Cab Chooze, into the local market.

Fisk says his company has kept an eye on Uber, the US-headquartered ride sharing service that earlier this year was hunting for staff in Auckland.  That company has a different model to Zoomy, with its own fleet of vehicles, says Fisk.