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How MiCab makes its ride-hailing service affordable to commuters

Cab-hailing platform MiCab, in partnership with Hallohallo Business, Inc., a Japanese-owned advertising company, has launched MiAds (Mobile Internet Advertising), a digital advertising app, to sustain its ride-hailing operation that charges zero booking fee and no surge pricing.

MiCab and Hallohallo Business, Inc. partnership launching. From left: Dhodie Sosa, Sales Manager, Hallohallo Business, Inc.; Mihoko Mori, President, Hallohallo Business, Inc.; Eddie Ybanez, CEO, MiCab; and Arnel Doria, Office of the Commuter Affairs.

The MiAds app plays advertising content in an LTE-powered Huawei’s seven-inch Android-based tablet deployed inside the partner-taxi. Taxi operator-partner shoulders the cost of the tablet and monthly data connection. The tablet, with script made by MiCab, is supplied by MiCab while Smart Communications provides the data connection. 

The tablet features a security mount on dashboard. No other applications can be installed on the tablet, only MiCab. Basically, the tablet is needed to operate MiCab and not to be used for personal purposes. 

The tablet has dual purpose, according to Eddie Ybanez, founder and CEO at MiCab. If there’s no passenger, it acts as a passenger hailing device. If someone books, it directly goes to the tablet. Once there is a passenger, the tablet will play the advertisement.

Doon tayo kikita. With the volume that we have, like the target is 15,000 interfaces, the gauge is big in terms of the number of people who have seen the ad in a day,” Ybanez said.

A study conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed that the Philippines ranked as the 9th country with the worst traffic in the world and 4th in Asia. This situation is used by MiAds to approach a certain number of passengers with digital advertisement. MiAds reaches up to 80 passengers in a day per taxi, totaling over 31-million in a month.

Advertisers, on the other hand, can avail of an advertisement slot of Php500 per month for a 15-second ad, repeated in 7- to 5-minute intervals. 

“We believe that MiAds is the future of advertising. We see a lot of potential in the product and we want to use our distinct position to drive influence and make our ads matter to our audience,” said Mihoko Mori, president at Hallohallo Business, Inc.

With its advertising services, Ybanes said MiCab has created its own advertising engine. “What would be hauling out for MyAds is actually powered by the advertising engine. The engine is capable of controlling the advertising by real-time graphics on passengers based on time and location,” Ybanez said.    

Although MiCab started in a cab, Ybanez said the goal for their advertising services is to use their advertising engine to power interfaces such as TVs in malls, restaurants, etc.

“MiAds will help businesses reach consumers in an unprecedented form of ‘mobile advertising’ here in the Philippines. They’ll be able to reach their target market wherever they are, when they are most open to hear from brands. And by helping enterprises, MiAds will keep MiCab affordable for consumers,” Ybanez said.

MiCab started in Cebu as a taxi-hailing platform which charged booking fee of Php5 in 2012. However, with competition out there, the company realized that the booking fee is not that sustainable and decided to offer advertising services to subsidize it so that when they launched the app nationwide, the booking fee was scrapped. 

Although not in full swing yet, MiCab is available in Metro Manila and passengers can now hail a cab by downloading the app on Google Play and App Store. On the other hand, the commercialization of the MiAds app starts in June this year.

MiCab has an integrated fare calculation system that produces fare estimates for passengers based on time and distance. Using real-time traffic data, the fare system is based on the formula of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), according to Ybanez.

“The driver activates the taxi meter once a passenger rides the vehicle (and not on the time a passenger books). Regarding fares, whatever is in the taxi meter, it is the amount to be paid by a passenger. “One hundred percent of fares go to the driver only.” Ybanez claims.

MiCab currently has a fleet of 4,000 taxis operating in Metro Manila, Baguio and Cebu. Targeting to be live in six cities, the goal of the app by the end of the year is to have a fleet of 15,000 taxis nationwide with the following cities and reach: Metro Manila – 5,000+, Baguio – 2,000+, Metro Cebu – 4,000+, Iloilo – 1,500+, and Bacolod – 800+. The Davao service area will be operational in the last quarter of the year with a reach of over 2,000 taxis. 

Ybanez noted that operators of the targeted 15,000 taxis for this year have already signed with MiCab. “It’s just a matter of deploying them. MiCab is still processing the logistics. The Philippines has 50,000 taxis so we are targeting to deploy the app to all.” 

In terms of their partnership with taxi operators, Ybanez said they are very strict in selecting their operator-partner. Currently, MiCab is partnering with two taxi associations, ATOMM and PNTOA, which are committed to improve their services. MiCab has verifications on the age of cars of members of these associations.  

Ybanez also noted the app has navigational pattern which helps drivers where to go and pick up passengers, and speed management so taxi operators can monitor the performance of their drivers and fleet. Once a passenger is done with his ride, he can rate, put comments or complaints about the driver, and investigations will take place every time there are complaints.

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