Building a transport technology framework that is ‘future ready’ | Matthew Bezzina

Over the past few years, the landscape of Malta’s cab industry has changed dramatically. With just a few players on the scene, around 10 years ago Malta’s roads were introduced to eCabs. Since then, the number of people moving to Malta for work has exploded, together with traffic and increased overall activity.

Further still, Malta has also experienced a boom in ride-sharing applications competing with eCabs. In the light of this, the Malta Chamber discusses how technology is shaping the company and how increased competition has shaped its strategy with eCabs co-founder Matthew Bezzina.

Mr Bezzina’s aim is simple – in his own words, he wishes to “build a transport technology framework that is future ready.” He discusses the impact competition has had on his business, the lessons learnt from a decade in the industry and the lack of regard to customer safety by many operators in the space.

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“E-scooters are part of the mobility future of this country.” | Matthew Bezzina

E-scooters are part of the mobility future of this country and their role is set to become even bigger.

Some may think that e-scooters are a competitor to the cab industry. Unfortunately this is a typical myopic perspective advocated by those who believe in protectionism rather than the dynamics of an open and modern economy.  

At eCabs, our mission has always been to provide an alternative, sustainable and effective means of transport other than the private car. The private car is increasingly becoming a heavy and expensive burden on our infrastructure.

The average person makes around 3.3 trips a day. A good percentage of these trips are done using a private car which 95% of the time is lying idle and parked but still occupying space on the roads for free, which in today’s terms translates to prime space that comes at a high premium.

If only one considers the opportunity cost of time and space, it is already enough reason to understand that a private car equates to a lot of missed opportunities.

Therefore, it goes without saying that as a company committed to promoting alternative mobility means other than private cars, we ‘re four-square behind the widespread use of e-scooters.

It is commendable that the authority has acted fast to regulate the use of e-scooters and not to allow the law of the jungle to prevail in such a sensitive domain. A modern country deserves a responsive regulatory environment and certainly doesn’t afford gaps which could jeopardise the safety of drivers and the public.

The first issue that we need to consider is that of risk. Space in Malta is limited, our road network is one of the densest networks in the world, most streets are narrow, and two thirds of these streets are taken by the road. Not to mention that a large portion is taken by parking spaces for idle cars and the very little remaining space has to be shared between pedestrians, bicycles and now e-scooters. This limited space that has to be shared means increased risk for all road users.

The only way to manage this risk is through proper enforcement and this is why the proposed regulation is a step in the right direction towards ensuring that the service can grow in a sustainable way.

It is in everyone’s interest that e-scooters operate safely and without endangering other road users. The authorities need to make sure that the right legislation is in place so that all stakeholders are protected. Only proper and responsible monitoring can contribute towards the service to grow organically.

If we just consider accessibility, the use of an e-scooter makes it an ideal fit to any multi-modal pattern of commuting: someone on an e-scooter can easily ride a bus, board a ferry and yes why not, even call an eCab and travel with his e-scooter. We will go the extra-mile to send e-scooter riders a cab that makes the commute with their e-scooter an easier and more fulfilling experience!

E-scooters have an important role to play in Malta. And as the ongoing quest for better and more efficient mobility continues, their role is set to become even bigger


The real value of transport | Matthew Bezzina

Our society is driven by a lifestyle where cars are protagonists. We instil the idea in our children that, as soon as they turn 18, they have to get their driving licence and own their car.

The car has become a must and is now an intrinsic part of the social fabric. But we have reached the extreme where owning a car is not just an expense for its owner but also carries a cost on the infrastructure and, as we are lately also finding out, on our health.

Every morning, many of us walk to our car, start the engine and drive to work and then, after a day’s work, we take the car back home. If you stop to think about it, you would realise that many of such people’s cars are lying idle for 95 per cent of the time.

Yet, they are still paying for fuel, road tax and insurance, not to mention maintenance costs.

From an infrastructure point of view, the reality is that, nowadays, no matter the location, vehicles are constantly occupying space on the roads for free, prime space which, in today’s terms, is an asset that comes at a high premium.

In reality, we will never know the real value of transport until we are forced to radically change the patterns of how we commute, a change so drastic it will bring a whole upheaval in our personal lifestyles, how we plan our days, where we spend most of our time and how we interact with family and friends.

Unfortunately, for this to happen, those in government will need to make difficult decisions.

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INTERVIEW | Matthew Bezzina: ‘We aim to grow into one of the largest corporates in Malta’

eCabs is a household brand in the local transport industry. Its impressive growth and significant operational footprint make it the first private company to reach high standards in service provision and technology application in the sector. BUSINESS TODAY met the company’s CEO, Matthew Bezzina, for an insight into how his business evolved into the leading transport solutions provider in Malta with internationalisation aspirations.

What was the idea behind eCabs, which started out as a new taxi company and has evidently turned itself into major operation within a short span of time?

Our idea was born out of the blend of two elements: firstly our academic formation in business and law which enabled us to structure our approach to problems and secondly our vision for shaping a business which uses technology to revolutionise a sector conspicuous for its failings and shoddy service. The idea can be easily summed up into an aspiration to be a prime mover in the solution to what was already becoming a huge traffic problem. We wanted to provide a feasible personal transportation alternative to people and kick-start a change in culture and mentality. Today 10 years down the line we look back with pride and satisfaction, but we also look forward to the next revolution we want to trigger.

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eCabs Lottery Generates 26,000 App Downloads

Over 26,000 new users installed the eCab app between January and April of this year. During this period, a lottery was organised by eCabs, in collaboration with Michael Attard Ltd, to promote the company’s new App. Over 80,000 rides were booked through the app during the same period. 

Every person downloading and booking a ride through eCabs’ app received a lottery ticket via email. The lottery generated over 100,000 tickets with the winner, Khalila Wanalia Astwood winning a brand new Peugeot 108.

Nicholas Attard, Chief Officer, Marketing and Business Development at eCabs said that “knowing that throughout this campaign we generated another 80,000 booked rides means that more people have been exposed to the eCabs experience and today, they are more aware of the value that they get when they book with us and that with eCabs they get to enjoy a service that is punctual, works in real time and is consistently of the highest level.”

eCabs mobile app is a very straightforward method of booking a ride within a few seconds. One of the main features of this app is that once you book a cab, you can monitor in real time where the cab is. Another important advantage is that when you pre-book a cab through the app, customers enjoy advantageous rates.

“Ultimately, giving added value through such competitions is important but what is mostly important for us at eCabs is that people realise the ease of use of our app, which we consider to be the very essence of our service and of what our company stands for” added Nicholas Attard.


eCabs announces top management appointments

eCabs, one of Malta’s largest private transport operators, has unveiled a series of high-profile appointments to its top management team.

The appointments complement the company’s further evolution into the leading, next-generation passenger transport service provider in Malta. The composition of the management team is a reflection of the company’s business strategy to position customer experience and transport affordability at the core of its mission, in its efforts to reinforce its role as a principal service provider in Malta for both B2C and B2B transport solutions.

Led by its CEO and co-founder Matthew Bezzina, the top management team brings to the visionary company an exceptional mix of skills which will enable it to fulfil its local expansion plans and its first steps in internationalising its suite of passenger transport solutions.

Co-founders and mainstays of the company Andrew Bezzina, Kevin Vassallo and Greta Borg Bezzina are taking on the roles of chief financial officer, director of product development and director of operations respectively. The ICT and innovation division will be led by Ryan Abela as head of technology and Kerstin Rizzo as head of programmes, while Nicholas Abela joined as chief officer business development and marketing and Marvin Cuschieri as chief officer, Human Capital and Corporate Services.

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eCabs Becomes the First Private Transport Provider To Embark on A Reduced Mobility Agenda

eCabs, the leading passenger transport service provider in Malta, is embarking on a ‘Reduced Mobility Agenda’ intended to offer significantly improved passenger experience to persons with reduced mobility ensuring stronger accessibility and ease of use of the services to all.

As an integral part of this Agenda, eCabs has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) through which a collaborative programme is being established for the company to introduce a set of measures intended to enable easier access to its transport services for passengers with reduced mobility, including persons with disability and the elderly. The Agenda covers both new vehicles and also service facilities to be introduced over a period of time.

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Ensuring frictionless payment transactions

Credorax, a Malta-based leading smart acquiring banking firm, has announced a new partnership with tech-driven minicab company eCabs. Credorax’s proprietary cross-border acquiring technology platform will enable eCabs to provide seamless payment services in its mobile app, hence increasing approval rates.

Credorax has built a global reputation for its tech-first approach to banking, which has fuelled 2,000 per cent growth since 2012 and the development of market-leading services, such as the fastest gateway on the market and an onboarding process that takes 24 to 48 hours instead of weeks.

Credorax’s payment technology stems from its ability to be both a hi-tech company and a fully licensed bank, enabling eCabs to leverage Credorax’s suite of smart acquiring tools. Credorax uses its advanced business intelligence and agile reporting tools to analyze every transaction, increasing approval rates and revenues for eCabs.

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Taxis becoming more popular after a night out

Most people using taxis are planning ahead
More people are using taxis after a night out, especially on days like New Year’s Eve, according to operators.

‘The concept of getting a taxi instead of driving continues to become more popular’. Photo: DOI
‘The concept of getting a taxi instead of driving continues to become more popular’. Photo: DOI
Speaking to Times of Malta on New Year’s Day, hours after one of the busiest days for the industry, eCabs co-founder Matthew Bezzina said that Monday night again proved that people’s mentality was finally shifting.

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Recyclable material gives a unique new look to the eCabs office

Ir-re-dekorazzjoni ta’ kamra żgħira fil-qalba ta’ Paceville ġiet rikonoxxuta mill-Kamra tal-Periti kemm minħabba l-materjal li ntuża kif ukoll għaliex l-istil tagħha fis-sempliċità tiegħu, qies ukoll il-karateristiċi ta’ din il-lokalità.

Din il-kamra ċkejkna fil-qalba ta’ Paceville għalkemm sempliċi fl-istil tagħha, ġiet rikonoxxuta mill-Kamra tal-Periti bħala proġett li fih tħaddmu sew il-prattiċi emerġenti.

Il-Periti Sandro u Peter Valentino użaw ħafna materjal riċiklabbli biex taw dehra sabiħa lill-post li jservi ta’ uffiċċju fejn wieħed jista’ jibbukkja servizz ta’ trasport ma’ kumpanija lokali.

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