For iTaxi, the leading taxi app in Poland, beginning of 2020 is marked with a notable win – they’ve just activated carrier billing on the telecom operator Play in Poland, which is another step forward in making this popular service available to mobile users all around the country. Technical integration was powered by Centili; it enables post-paid Play customers to charge their iTaxi rides to their existing telco plans. It is one of the very first examples of using carrier billing in charging taxi services in the EU.
Several regulatory and technical challenges were solved in the implementation process, resulting in many benefits for iTaxi users and the company itself, a leader in smart transportation in Poland.
As the biggest and most influential ride-sharing company in the country with over 10 thousand cars in 100 cities, iTaxi is ideally positioned to lead the developments in smart urban transportation, something that’s gained momentum in the past decade and has the potential to introduce new levels of convenience and ease, powered by improved connectivity, digital services and smartphones. Tomasz Soczówka, Strategic Advisory & Partnerships Manager at iTaxi, explains the significance of this project.
What is the significance of iTaxi activating DCB on Play?
First, I would say it’s the value for iTaxi customers. They can now not only order transportation via our application on their smartphone, but they can also charge it to their telco plan within the same app, in only a few taps on the screen. We’ve worked a lot to make the payment flow smooth, easy, and secure. The extra payment option was added to our mobile application with a view of making our service available to those who want to have a choice when paying for taxi services, as well as those who may not own or want to use credit cards for these types of transactions. The reputation and market position of Play is certainly a plus here. Introducing carrier billing into the ride-hailing and ride-sharing space could provide an additional push towards unlocking the full potential of smart cities and smart transportation in our country, and beyond.
Where do you see iTaxi and Poland in the context of European smart transportation developments?
With its population of almost 40 million and many examples of innovation in the space, I think Poland can drive many positive developments in smart urban transportation. Mobile network operators have shown initiative and understanding and have been great partners in digital enablement. This gives us plenty of reasons for an optimistic outlook towards new solutions and is a confirmation that the largest brands on the market see us as a valuable and innovative partner. Such partnerships are crucial in enabling the kind of digital solutions we’re building.
What’s next for iTaxi in terms of making mobility available as a service, and transforming transportation as we know it today?
Our ongoing mission is to make urban travel easy, accessible and comfortable at any time. We are constantly looking for ways to remove hassle and burden from our customers and create a digitally-managed transportation service with a smooth, more enjoyable experience. Instead of wasting time on managing transportation, we want to free up time for them to do things they love and care for. If we look at the specifics, it’s great that riders can now charge the transportation cost to their telco plans. In terms of the near future, not only are we working on creating better solutions for both riders and drivers but also implementing new technologies.
What do you see as the greatest urban mobility issues? Ideas for smooth travel in smart cities are abundant, but so are the obstacles to putting many of these ideas into practice.
Even though we’re constantly trying to connect drivers on our platform and consolidate the mobility market, it is still greatly fragmented. Furthermore, with the beginning of 2020, the Polish market is undergoing legal changes in urban mobility and safety. The problem is that in many cases regulation can’t keep up with the pace of innovation and this makes investments even riskier. However, I strongly believe there’s an opportunity in every obstacle. That’s why on the other hand we’re seeing that many pioneering projects and attempts are successful in overcoming at least some of the challenges. This decade will be an exciting one - it could lay foundations to how we’ll use, experience and manage transportation in the future. By this I mean not only electrical and autonomous vehicles and connected cars, but also the software, digital and connectivity solutions that will be deployed in the space.
What do you think the era of smart cars and electric vehicles could bring to urban transportation?
Again, I believe this decade could redefine ways we move around the city. It involves not only electric cars but also cars fuelled by other, innovative resources. This applies not only to personal vehicles but also to other means of transportation. As iTaxi we want to be part of this change and deliver smart solutions our customers seek, and we are devoting all our efforts to that.