Copycats force taxi rebrand

2012-01-26 00:00

FIFTEEN years after establishing the capital’s leading cab service, Metro Taxis’ owner Junaid Sayed has launched a multi-million rand investment in Metro’s fleet.

Fed up with ongoing issues around copycat operators in the industry, the investment includes a complete rebranding, departing from the iconic yellow cabs to a fleet of white cabs.

The rebranding includes new signage and logo, at a considerable cost as Sayed utilised the services of a professional firm to undertake the rebranding exercise.

The total fleet now consists of 30 vehicles compared with 18 vehicles in the recent past.

Sayed, who employs up to 70 people, told The Witness that the demand for a professional metre taxi service is immense, adding that the large fleet of existing vehicles still does not meet the current level of market demand.

“The vast majority of our business, about 70%, comes from the servicing of well-known companies and educational institutions. The latest investment is merely to satisfy existing clientele.”

He added that he has grown the fleet thanks to various investments and takeovers of other operators.

Significantly, he invests about 85% of the money generated through Metro back into the business.

Sayed stressed that the levels of service and investment extend beyond the interface between the client and driver.

Metro has also invested heavily in high quality information technology (IT) systems in its control-room, as well as advanced vehicle tracking systems — an essential tool in the public transport industry.

He is not daunted by the security and customer service-challenges of operating in the industry.

“With transport, there will always be hiccups. But, we deal with them and always try to go the extra mile for the customer.

“With everything in life, there will be risks involved. We have invested in the right systems, such as installing cameras in vehicles as well as live vehicle tracking to safeguard drivers and clients.”

Sayed has been able to run a profitable business despite competitive pricing and the erosion of margins due to higher petrol prices in 2011.

The choice of rebranding was influenced by Metro’s need to move away from the yellow cab identity.

“I have had various problems with copycat operators. Members of the public were even complaining to Metro regarding the confusion between our vehicles and other vehicles. I even tried to patent the identity, but was unsuccessful.

“I then engaged with a professional company to rebrand. White is a more corporate, upmarket look.

“I am now in the process of gaining a patent for this new identity. At the end of the day, it is about the reputation of Metro.”

Born in Raisethorpe, Sayed (48) worked as a salesman in clothing retail before establishing his own business in the bustling Debi Market area.

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