App steers clear of surge pric­ing

The Dominion Post - - Business - CHLOE WIN­TER

Welling­ton taxi com­pany Cap­i­tal Taxis is launch­ing a new rideshar­ing app to tackle an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

Co-own­ers Tim Laua­giagi and Sam Le­toa have launched Kavale, a ser­vice they say will ‘‘change the trans­port game’’ in Welling­ton.

The pair claim Kavale dif­fers from other ride-shar­ing apps as it com­bined the of­fer­ings of rideshar­ing and the tra­di­tional taxi.

Cus­tomers who call Kavale’s phone num­ber can or­der a cab and pay by cash or card, or they can or­der through the app and pay with a pre-reg­is­tered card.

Laua­giagi said all phone jobs that came through Mi­ra­mar-based Cap­i­tal Taxis, which em­ployed 170 driv­ers, would be dis­patched through the Kavale app.

Laua­giagi and Le­toa hoped the app would pro­vide more of a com­mu­nity fo­cus, with the firm do­nat­ing 50 cents from ev­ery ride to a fund sup­port­ing de­vel­op­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal projects in New Zealand and the Pa­cific.

Kavale has about 20 driv­ers, but Laua­giagi hoped to get more in­ter­est once the app of­fi­cially launches on November 23.

Ini­tially, the driv­ers will ser­vice Welling­ton city; how­ever, Kavale planned to ex­tend the ser­vice to Porirua and the Hutt Val­ley in the com­ing months, Le­toa said.

All driv­ers are sub­ject to screen­ing, in­clud­ing check­ing of li­cence doc­u­ments and ve­hi­cle de­tails against the New Zealand Trans­port Au­thor­ity data­base. In ad­di­tion, Kavale has in­stalled a panic but­ton in the app that can be ac­ti­vated at any time dur­ing a cus­tomer’s trip.

‘‘You can choose up to 5 dif­fer­ent con­tacts that will have your pre­set mes­sage and lo­ca­tion sent to them as soon as you press the but­ton,’’ Kavale’s web­site says.

Laua­giagi said Kavale’s prices were ‘‘ap­prox­i­mately’’ the same as other ride-shar­ing apps, but it did not charge surge pric­ing.

Nishad Hus­sein is one of 20 driv­ers who have al­ready signed up to Kavale. He also works for Mi­ra­mar-based Cap­i­tal Taxis.

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