App steers clear of surge pricing
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.