Ride-hailing applications like Uber and Grab have yet to launch in the Kingdom even though they are taking most Asian markets by storm.
Don’t worry though. Because Cambodia’s answer to these applications could be here! Started by Top Nimol, the PassApp Taxi app might just be what you are looking for. Launched just last month, the application has already chocked up over 2000 downloads across the App Store and the Google Play Store.
The way the app works is simple. When you open the app, you’ll be led to a map of your surrounding area that is picked up by your phone’s GPS. Simply tap “Set Pickup” at the bottom on your screen and the application will send out a request to registered Tuk Tuks close to you.
You’ll be notified when a Tuk Tuk driver has accepted your job offer and then all you have to do is wait at your set location for him/her to pick you up!
Additionally, you can set your destination and receive a price estimate as well! What’s more, it’ll also save you the hassle of haggling for a price as the Tuk Tuks registered to the application charge by kilometer and follow a fixed rate.
To find out more about the application, we sat down with the app’s founder Top Nimol, to have a chat.
The following interview has been edited for clarity, flow and language.
What inspired you to develop this application?
Nimol(N): For me, I actually own another company in Cambodia called EasyGo which helps links customers to TukTuk drivers whenever they call in. As such, I realised that as the number of customers calling in increased, it posed a challenge for me because it became very messy for the operators to quickly link the customers to the TukTuk drivers.
So, I started to think about the application and how it could help reduce the stress on the operators if everything was done electronically. Furthermore, I also want Cambodians to be able to say that they can book Tuk Tuks through an application.
What made you decide that now would be a good time to release the application in Cambodia?
N: Well, I think we can see that Cambodian people are starting to use smartphones a lot. And since they are starting to use smartphones, they will slowly start to realise that apps can help them do things a lot faster so I think this was a good time to release the application.
On top of that, I also noticed that the current situation was such that there were many steps to fulfill when wanting to book a Tuk Tuk. For example, you’d have to go through the operator, to the Tuk Tuk Driver, who will then have to contact the passenger to find out their location. It’s a really long process and from the feedback I’ve gotten, I know sometimes consumers don’t want to wait. So, with the application, the passenger will know the pick up time, the driver will know where the passenger is and the price is made known as well.
What were some challenges the app has faced and how did you overcome them?
N: The biggest challenge we faced at the start was that the application was only available in English, so many Tuk Tuk drivers could not understand the app and it was only made use of by foreigners. However, now we have launched a Khmer version so many Tuk Tuk drivers are interested in using it and the user demographic is now about half-half between foreigners and Cambodians.
What impact do you hope the app will have on Cambodia?
N: Well, I hope that the app will make it a lot easier for Cambodians to book Tuk Tuks and get around. Ideally, the biggest impact that the app could have is that everyone in Cambodia starts using the application to get around. After all, it is more convenient and a lot faster for them.
What are some developments you wish the app will have in the coming months?
N: As of now, we have about 30 Tuk Tuk drivers and 10 taxi drivers available for booking through the app. By the end of November, I will hope to have at least 50 Tuk Tuk drivers and 30 taxi drivers. By the end of next year, my target would be to have 200 Tuk Tuk drivers connected to the app.
Another feature I’d like to add would be for passengers to be able to track their driver’s location directly on the app so that they can see how far away the driver is from them.
Through developing the application, what do you see as some of the key advantages that technology has brought about?
N: First of all, I think technology has made it easier to manage my business as it can help keep track of all the requests coming in instead of doing it manually by constantly calling Tuk Tuk drivers. Furthermore, its also easier for the customers as they can book Tuk Tuks with a click of a button rather than making a few phone calls and having to wait. So it helps to reduce the time spent for the customers and makes it much more convenient for them.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs/developers?
N: My advice to them would be to create more applications to capitalise on the various advantages and benefits brought about by technology. After all, apps are not that difficult to develop nowadays and it could go a long way to making your life more convenient.
Be sure to check out the PassApp Taxi mobile app today!