Many ride-sharing companies, such as Hopp and Kapten are very keen to start operating in London on an Uber-like model. They have the financial backbone to penetrate London’s market but are lacking something, a TfL operator licence. It is not the case for Cribble. Even if the app-based company does not have the strong back-up of big names, it has an original model and, more importantly, a TfL licence.
A different concept from Uber-like apps
Cribble offers something that gives more leverage to drivers in the market dynamics. That is the possiblity for drivers to set its fares and prices. Indeed, the idea is that both riders and drivers interact through the same app via a pre set bidding system. Drivers set their prices and riders select the one that is more suitable for them. The other particluarity of the app is that riders can pay using cash.
In a short interview, Brian Haughan, founder of Cribble tells us a little bit more about the app.
Interview held with Cribble over the phone on 25/02/2019
Driver App London – Who are you, where do you come from and where did you start?
Brian Haughan- Brian Haughan, Irish, I am a veteran of FinTech having built and managed national and global payment infrastructures for more than 20 years.
DAP- What is Cribble about?
BH- If there is a line of taxis and they are all charging the same then I want to pick the best one rather than the next one. At the same time, if I was the driver of the best car, I would want to be paid more than my neighbour in the worst car. These are the problems we need to solve.
Cribble is different from other taxi apps because it makes ordering a driver a bit like buying a product on Amazon. The drivers (sellers) pick their price level and advertise their offer. The buyer (rider) sets a route and then sees a selection of nearby drivers with an offer on a map. The offer shows information about the vehicle, the driver and his/her price so that the rider can make an informed purchase for a fixed price. Prices between drivers may vary significantly and so may the vehicles on offer so it is up to the rider to pick the deal that they prefer.
The concept solves two big issues. Firstly, it creates a level playing field where drivers can transparently compete for business and establish market rates to get a fair pay. Secondly, it gives the rider a choice based on a price and clear information about the vehicle and the driver before pressing the buy button.
DAP- Is Cribble TfL Licensed? If yes, where will you operate?
BH- We have been in discussion with TfL over the last 18 months. And yes, Cribble is currently available in London under TfL Operator Licence 009583. Cribble will cover greater London and the Airports.
DAP- Are your Apps Ready? Tell us about the main features.
BH- Yes. Cribble is on the App Store and Google Play.
DAP- And what about the features?
BH- Cribble is a single app for both drivers and riders. So the driver has full knowledge of his competitors before setting a price. He can also consider his preferred mode of working and if a preferred destination will be a helpful tool to get the next ride. Once the decisions are taken the driver can drag an icon to the preferred destination and drag a slider to set the desired surge. The riders app will take all of this into account when quoting on behalf of the driver.
There is no queueing or scheduling of drivers. So it is entirely the responsibility of the driver to put together a competitive offer to get picked by a client. Hence there is no special mode for the airport versus the city. When a rider places an order the driver is shown the destination and price before deciding whether to accept or reject the ride.
The process to enrol as a driver is highly automated within the app with a final approval by the operator.
DAP- What are your fees and pricing?
BH- Our commissions are set at 10% + 40p per ride for the first 5,000 drivers. The base price is £5 start fee plus £5 per 5 miles or part of. So a short ride is £10. The incremental steps is similar to zones in the underground where taking one stop or 5 stops can be the same price. But at some point the price increases significantly because a boundary is passed.
If the driver has set a preferred destination and the ride is in the same direction or within a 3 mile radius of the preferred destination then the basic rate stands. Otherwise Cribble will automatically increase the quote by 50% of the base rate to encourage the driver to accept.
The driver always has the option to surge. The range is restricted to 0.5 on the low end and 3 on the high end with 1 being the base.
DAP- Will you serve airports. If yes, how will it work?
BH- Yes. We will run the calculations as normal taking the driver preferences into account and the requested route. Then, the customer will decide. So it is business as usual but the algorithms will essentially match drivers and passengers who want to go in the same direction.
DAP- What are your launch plans for both drivers and riders?
BH- We started driver recruitment a week ago (interview held on 25/02/2019) and are on track to have 2,000 drivers in March. Once the drivers understand how they can benefit, they are motived to sign-up and can complete the process within an hour. We are opening the Cribble Hub in Paddington on 11 March to expedite the recruitment cycle for those who need assistance.
I can tell you that we are not going to give free rides. And we are not going to advertise with TfL or on television. But we are going to reach out to the people of London who have good hearts. They will sleep better knowing that they paid a little extra to bring their driver above the poverty line. I can’t tell you more right now but it will happen pretty soon.
DAP- How will Cribble grow to other cities and countries?
BH- Cribble is really the technology side of the business. We will be partnering with Operators to implement the solution on the ground.