An Uber for the island: New app Bouzāy can call a cab in Seychelles
Bouzāy is the latest smartphone application to reach the Seychelles' shores allowing locals and visitors to catch a ride in the nearest available cab from anywhere around the main inhabited islands. (Salifa Magnan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The whole world seems to be talking about the taxi app Uber. Now Seychelles has its very own version.
Catching a ride in the nearest available cab from anywhere around Seychelles' main inhabited islands is set to become easier with Bouzāy, the latest smartphone application to reach the archipelago’s shores, with the aim of helping people to find unoccupied taxis in their surroundings.
According to Buzz Seychelles Limited -- the Seychellois-owned company that has come up with the app -- Bouzāy echoes the Creole term ‘bouze’ which means to move.
“The app is all about 'moving' or being on the go. The company felt that it was a good fit. The name is also designed to be easy and familiar for visiting tourists,” a company representative, Daron Walker, said to SNA.
The taxi app developed specifically for Seychelles has some features similar to Uber -- a taxi app available in 500 cities worldwide -- although Bouzāy will only be available to licensed taxi operators. Uber on Wednesday unveiled driver-less taxis in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh.
Currently in the test phase, Bouzāy will launch officially at the end of September. Taxi operators and customers can both download the app for free. Once registered, taxi drivers will get two months of free access to see if the service suits their business.
“Taxi operators can remain a Bouzāy user by simply paying a really small monthly fee…Members of the Seychelles Taxi Operators Association will also receive a 10 percent discount,” said Walker.
|Bouzāy echoes the Creole term ‘bouze’ which means to move. (Google Play) Photo License: CC-BY|
A few taxi drivers who spoke to SNA are optimistic about the benefits that could be derived from this new initiative.
"We will have to wait and see but I feel it will be a good thing. If it works well, it will help increase our business," said Simon Francoise, a taxi driver for 15 years.
Jean-Claude Hoareau who has been a taxi driver for 19 years said that “although tourists come to Seychelles to relax, they are accustomed to a fast lifestyle and having to wait long time for a taxi is frustrating. This [app] might help us to better understand the need of a client.”
The general public and visitors to Seychelles – a 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean -- will not have to pay to use the app which needs GPS and internet to work. Bouzāy will enable a client to see the photo of the driver, contact number and more importantly a map showing the proximity of the taxis.
“I have never used such an app but I think that it is a good initiative. It will help me to get around," said Alessandro Pessina, a visitor from Italy.
E. Schiedon a Dutch tourist visiting the island nation, believes that the need for the app will depend on one’s location.
"The app will be more useful when you are far from places like the airport but you are more up in the mountains or places where you cannot easily find a taxi," she said.
|There are currently 372 licensed taxi drivers on the Seychelles three main inhabited islands – Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. (Salifa Magnan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Buzz Seychelles Limited anticipates a gradual demand for the app although the archipelago represents a small market.
Compared to other countries where the taxi business is owned by companies in Seychelles taxi drivers own their business. According to the Seychelles licensing authority there are currently 372 active licensed taxi drivers on the Seychelles three main inhabited islands – Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
After Mahe, Bouzāy is set to reach Praslin and La Digue in the coming weeks.
The app is currently only available on the Android platform on Google Play but Walker said that the company will hopefully launch the iOS version for Apple products by the end of October.