OTaxi marks first year of operations; to launch card payment

MUSCAT: The app-based cab, OTaxi, last week completed one year of operations since it received approval from the Ministry of Transport of Communication. The company told the Observer that it has a team of over 300 taxi operators, with over 5,000 customers in January 2019 availing of its services. It plans to launch the card payment system in three weeks as one of the new initiatives for 2019 while booking can now be done online at otaxi.om. “It has been a year of challenges and opportunities that allowed OTaxi to prove its capabilities in Oman. It allows customers to get a taxi anywhere at their doorstep in Muscat and anytime. When it started services in 2014, it was one of its kind and an advanced way of public transportation in Oman,” Harith al Maqbali, CEO of OTaxi, said.
“Challenges are there but we have the support of the customers, evident from the fact that they keep coming back to us”, he added.
“This is a good achievement for a company started by a group of young Omanis from the scratch. They will always have the first-mover advantage and should be prepared for stronger competition in the future,” said Moshin al Balushi, an engineer in the oil and gas sector, who recently started availing of the OTaxi service to cut fuel costs. Recently, the government said on-demand taxi companies (Uber and Careem) are welcome to operate in Muscat as per the latest trends, but they should follow the rules set by the authorities.
According to Maggie, a public sector expatriate nurse, “the fares are relatively reasonable and efficient. Initially, the waiting period was longer, but with more drivers onboard, it is better now,” she said. “I hope they don’t increase the prices gradually with the popularity.”
The company officials said, “We work with Omani taxi drivers who have permits to operate service rides in the country. We take the safety of customers seriously and all drivers are constantly trained to deliver comfortable cab services to our clients.”
The app works on a metered (through mobile) on-demand taxi solution with a GPS-based communication system, backed by a 24×7 technical support.
To get a taxi ride, the customer needs to just confirm the current location for a pickup and also the drop-off point.
Through the app, they will get information about the driver, including contact details and the type of the vehicle. At the time of booking, customers will also get estimated fares.