Brunei taxis have no fear! Dart is the solution

A new way forward for public transport in Brunei. A proposal from Dart's CEO

#dartCEOblog #supportlocal #bruneitaxi #publictransportbrunei

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The story is an increasingly familiar one. From Singapore to Spain, Germany to Ghana, Malaysia to Morocco, whenever a ride-hailing company like Uber moves into a country, the local taxi operators react with fury. Their fear is that this new competitor will undermine their business and steal their customers; and, given the ease of booking a ride on your smartphone, and the lower rates charged by services like Uber, this is not an unreasonable concern. Such tensions have sparked protests in cities all over the world, even culminating in acts of violence against Uber drivers (and those of its rivals, such as Grab and Lyft).

 
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Here in Brunei, we will not repeat events of those unfortunate tensions with local taxis. With the advent of Dart Logistics,the country’s first ride-booking service, I want to quash any misconceptions and target the issues upfront. There is, in fact, no reason why Dart and the taxi community cannot work together. And, fortunately for both parties, the unique conditions in Brunei mean that we are not competing over the same market. Here is why:

  • Taxis in Brunei cater to a very specific demographic.
  • They provide transport mainly to tourists and foreign businessmen, which is why they are most often found waiting outside the airport, or by hotels.
  • Locals and permanent residents of the country almost never use their services because, quite frankly, they find the prices too expensive.
  • Given the low cost of petrol here, and how cheap it can be to buy and maintain a car, it makes more sense, financially speaking, to drive yourself.
 

So What's New?

Indeed, for most Bruneians, taxis do not exist even as a last resort; it simply would not occur to us to use a taxi. What you may not realize is that we have a very strong ride-sharing culture here, and if you do not have access to a car, you ask a friend or family member for a lift. However In those unfortunate situations where no one can pick you up, you usually accept that you are stranded.

Even though they do exist, if it were not for the Dart taxi booking App I’d safely assume that you, reader, do not have a single taxi’s number on your phone, nor have you used one for any reason in the past year. By this criterion, they can hardly be called a public transportation service.

After the launch of Dart Taxi in May 2017, the single most common piece of feedback we received was that the prices were 'too expensive' – in most cases, far too expensive - this is of course due to the expectations from the Local public wanting an uber like service.

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Market GAP

This is the market gap that Dart seeks to fill. Our goal is to create a cheap and reliable form of transport for the Bruneian public. Something that ordinary people could use on a daily basis. This means, however, that we cannot charge the same rates as the taxis. 

Plenty of locals were supportive of the idea of a ride-booking service, but only if it were significantly cheaper. These people constitute a brand-new market: one that is not currently being serviced by the taxis. 

This is the market that we are interested in appealing to, by offering rides at prices that people are actually willing to pay (via a private-hire car service called Dart Car). It is therefore inaccurate to say that Dart is in competition with the taxis at all. If anything, our service threatens to legitimize  the ‘unofficial’ taxi operators – the infamous ‘taxi sapu’ – who give lifts at discount prices, but are unregulated, uninsured and often unsafe.

 
 
 

Working Together

However, the main reason why taxis have nothing to fear from Dart is that we would like to work with them as much as possible. Rather than shutting them out of this new market, we want to give them full access. Most of the taxi drivers in Brunei are experienced professionals who are dedicated to their jobs – exactly the sort of people we want driving with Dart. They already have all the necessary experience required to transport passengers commercially; they would only need to attend a short course on how to use the Dart App in order to become fully qualified. These drivers would benefit also to be the only ones allowed to perform both DartTaxi and DartCar jobs, increasing their pool of jobs exponentially!

If taxis choose not to participate, they lose nothing – they can continue to perform taxi jobs at taxi rates. But if they decide to partner with Dart, they could potentially see a vast increase in their earnings.

Rather than treating this as a competition between Dart and the taxi community, it would be more productive to view the situation as an opportunity where everyone has a chance to benefit. If the taxis wish to remain separate and not work with Dart, they are perfectly entitled to do so. They can continue to serve a niche market of foreign tourists and businessmen and earn the same income that they always have. But Dart is offering them the chance to broaden their horizons and service an entirely new market. This could potentially bring them far greater levels of income, whilst also helping the local community, who deserve a convenient and affordable form of public transportation.

 
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The Dart way

They say that a rising tide lifts all boats – meaning that even small improvements in the economy will benefit everyone. That is what Dart is aiming to do, by opening up new markets and providing jobs to people who are willing to work for them. We are not a threat to the taxis; far from it! All we ask is that we try things the Dart way, and let’s see whether we can improve living standards for everyone in Brunei.

 

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BHC Visits the Dart Headquarters


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Recently, we were visited by our friends at BHC Magazine, Brunei's leading Home Living & Lifestyle publication, who dropped by to interview our CEO about Dart and the future of transportation in Brunei. They did a great article on the subject, which you can find in the October 2017 edition of their magazine (found here: http://bhcmagazine.com/october-2017/).  Check it out, and read about how Dart is 'bridging the gaps' in society and helping to transform the landscape of public transportation in Brunei!

Dart Surpasses One Month Target

 

Brunei Darussalam, 10th June 2017 - Dart Logistics Sdn Bhd has released that there has been close to 7000 downloads of the Dart App after one month of operation, with almost 100 completed rides to date and more than 300 registered interest to be a Dart Car driver. The statistics released by founder & CEO of Dart, Zul 'Amali bin DP H Idris, shows how the market is responding on a good note to the transportation network industry.

'We have received a great response from the public, especially those who are curious about our services. We have surpassed our monthly target of 5000 downloads and hoping that it will grow within the next few months when we introduce new services and promotions. What we are proposing is a recognised innovation and moving forward from the conventional way of ride booking services which is via calling or messaging. Our smartphone platform serves to fulfill the gap of transportation needs, for both corporate and personal needs.'

Dart also announced to the customers and the public as they are not limited to only booking for taxi services but aim to provide further range of services such as Dart Car, Courier services and ticketing with more planned in the near future. 'Dart is going to widen the scope of services and I hope that this informs minds of the public that we are not limited to doing taxi - booking services alone but aim to solve transport needs.' Zul'Amali added.

He also mentioned that Dart's new service will be recruiting drivers in a few weeks time to accommodate market's demand for travelling in Brunei. 'We are providing ease and convenience for the public of Brunei, to be able to move around in safe and affordable way as our aim is to be Brunei's safest and trusted transportation option. The public can travel in confidence with a trusted driver and secure payment gateway that enables you to do an initial one-time payment entry for a seamless experience.'

With the ambition to reduce unemployment, The Dart Car service will be provided with partnered private drivers. Potential drivers will need to be screened and qualify before going through the co-developed LTD - Dart driver training program to be a licensed Dart driver.

Those who are interested to be a Dart Car Driver can register interest via the Dart website at www.dartbrunei.com. The public are able to download the App via App Store for iOS users and via Google Play for Android users.

 

 

10 Reasons to Hire A Dart Taxi


 

1. You're going to the Airport.

Going on holiday should be a relaxing experience. (You deserve a break, after all.) There’s only one catch: having to leave your car behind at the airport. Most people get around this difficulty by asking a friend or family member to drop them off – but why be a source of inconvenience? Especially if it’s an early-morning or late flight. Instead, call a Dart Taxi and start your vacation guilt free...

2. You're going somewhere with limited parking.

Ever tried to find a parking space in Gadong in the evening? Or at Times Square…anytime? Brunei has one of the highest vehicle ownership rates in the world, and traffic congestion is an ever-growing nightmare. If you’re going to a place where you know the parking will be scarce, why risk it? Hire a Dart Taxi and enjoy the feeling of smugness as you watch the other poor drivers circle the car park for the umpteenth time.

3. You're going to a wedding.

Technically, this falls under Reason 2. But it really deserves its own special place on the list. I mean, have you ever tried to find parking at a local wedding? I rest my case.

4. Your car isn't available.

Maybe it’s broken down. Maybe it’s in the shop for repairs. Maybe your brother/sister/cousin/distant relative decided to borrow it today. Who knows? There are a million reasons why your normal car might not be available at the moment. In the old days, if you couldn’t get a lift from someone, that meant you were stranded. But now there is a genuine alternative – Dart!

5. You don't own a car.

Of course, not everyone can afford their own car. And many people make do with buses instead. But sometimes you need to go somewhere specific, and it’s just too far to walk. (This is Brunei – it’s hot!) In these situations, consider using a Dart Taxi. It’s well worth the occasional expense!

6. Sometimes you just don't feel like driving.

Picture the scene: It’s a Wednesday evening, 6:00pm. It’s raining. You’ve just got back from work. You’re tired, miserable, and Friday seems a long way away. But the whole family is determined to catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster at 7:30 – and YOU’RE the designated driver. Why should you be the only one to suffer? Call a Dart Taxi and sit back and relax, content in the knowledge that someone else will handle all the driving...

7. You get to meet the local taxi drivers.

Some of these gentlemen (and ladies!) have been working as taxi drivers for close to twenty years, and they tell terrific stories about Brunei’s history. It is fascinating to be driven around by someone who has watched the country grow and develop over the years, and to benefit from their words of wisdom. Many also have a great sense of humour!

8. It's safe.

At Dart, our number one concern is your safety. That’s why we extensively screen all potential drivers before allowing them to use our technology. In any case, all the details of your journey – time, location, destination, driver, vehicle – are saved on our databases, to be reviewed immediately if something goes amiss. (Don’t worry: it’s all confidential.) As I said, we take your safety very seriously.

9. It's patriotic!

Singapore and Malaysia have Grab; Indonesia has Go-Jek. But Dart is 100% Bruneian – made by Bruneians, for Bruneians. We, the Dart Team, have made it our mission to improve the transportation services in Brunei, and we hope that you will support us in this endeavour. Ours is a local business, and we want to provide jobs and benefit the economy as a whole.

10. It's cool. Be cool.

Dart is the hot new product these days. Don’t you want to be part of it?

 

If in doubt, Dart it...