MONTEVIDEO – The Spanish private transport company Cabify, which links drivers with passengers through a mobile app, was launched in Montevideo with “greater than expected” success, its operations director in Uruguay, Manuel Gros, told a press conference on Friday.
According to its marketing director, Gonzalo Peralta, the company’s launch in Montevideo and its upcoming expansion to other Uruguayan cities has been “a great challenge,” since the company adopts a different business model every time it starts up in a city to fit its particular characteristics and legal framework.
“We know we take a longer road than others do, but we take it with the total conviction that we are operating within the law,” Gros said.
This way of working means that, in Montevideo and in other cities, growth has been “pretty hard, but in the medium term it’s a better way to operate because we’re working on solid legal ground,” Gros said.
With its entry into the Uruguayan market, the company founded in Madrid now operates in 12 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Peru and Portugal, and more than 30 cities worldwide.
“We know every one of our drivers. We train them and we’re in constant communication with them,” he said.
The vehicles, meanwhile, “must be in excellent condition and have good conveniences and safety measures,” Gros said from Cabify.
As for the passengers, they can personalize aspects of their ride through the app, such as which radio station they want to hear, what temperature they want inside the vehicle and if they want to chat or not.
The app also tells passengers how much the ride will cost before ordering the service, since the fare is based on the distance in kilometers of the best route, regardless of whether there are delays or detours due to traffic along the way.
When it comes time for passengers to pay for their ride, at present international credit cards and the PayPal platform are accepted, but within a month or so local credit cards are expected to be incorporated, something that Uber, for example, does not permit.
Cabify marked its official launch in Montevideo Thursday by offering passengers one ride free of charge from 8:00 am until midnight for trips under 200 pesos (around $7), with a success greater than expected by its management, which meant there were times during the day when the demand outstripped the supply.