Uber becomes the new operator of the taxi service at Václav Havel Airport Prague from the spring of 2023, having won the concession procedure entered by two bidders. The winner of the tender guarantees a fixed fare price quoted in advance, 24/7 service availability, and a fleet of up to five-year-old mainly upper middle-class cars.
“Taxi service is key for us. In the concession procedure, we emphasised the requirements of passengers, who above all want to know the price in advance. The new taxi operator will provide its services under the constant control of the airport. All rides, even those outside of Prague, must comply with the maximum price regulation,” Jakub Puchalský, Member of the Prague Airport Board of Directors, said.
“The world is changing dynamically, and if we don’t want to be left behind, we have to respond to this development, among other things, by continuously improving our customer service offer. I believe that the new operator of the taxi service will fulfil the airport management expectations they have of them in this regard,” Zbyněk Stanjura, Minister of Finance, added.
The current operators' contracts terminate in January 2023. The new taxi operator will start preparations immediately after signing the agreement so that they can offer their services as soon as possible after the end of the existing cooperation. The operator will have the obligation to determine the final price before each ride, which will be calculated by their software. The resulting fare must not exceed the agreed price, even when changing the route or waiting in a traffic jam.
Passengers will be able to order a taxi ride using their phone without the need to download an application, via the web interface, and at kiosks in the arrival halls at both terminals. Based on the contractual conditions, the operator will work with drivers who will ensure the required quality of services and traffic safety. The operator will also ensure the drives have all valid permits, speak Czech, and have at least a basic knowledge of English to be able to carry a basic conversation with the customer. They must also wear job-appropriate attire. The customer will always have the option of contactless payments.
“The official partnership with Václav Havel Airport is a huge success and a significant milestone for our operation in Czechia. We know how crucial the quality of transport from the airport is, not only for the capital city, but also for the entire Czech Republic. This gives us the opportunity to influence the reputation of our country at the very first contact with foreign visitors, which entails a great commitment that we are ready to take on with the utmost responsibility and care,” Štěpán Šindelář, Uber's Operations Manager for the Czech Republic, said.
The passenger request will be handled quickly and efficiently
After the order confirmation, the customer will immediately receive information about the license plate number, model, and colour of the car which will drive them from the airport. The passenger will either see this data directly in the application or receive it in the form of an SMS if they order a ride at an airport kiosk. It will also be possible to pair a ride with a specific car through a PIN code, sent through to the passenger upon ordering their ride. They will then be able to choose any car standing in front of the terminal. The operator uses this technology at other airports, where waiting times have been reduced by an average of 50 percent. There will also be an intelligent destination prompter available with the option of entering multiple stops. The app itself supports more than 100 languages. The language of the application follows the language settings in the operating system of the device used. The application automatically translates messages between the driver and the passenger, thereby breaking down language barriers.
The taxi operator is obliged to adjust the number of available cars at the airport based on the current demand to ensure the service readiness and avoid long waits by passengers. At the customer's request, the taxi dispatcher will supply a car seat for families with children. The conditions of cooperation also include the obligation of transportation for persons with reduced mobility and orientation.
When drafting the concession procedure conditions, the airport also took into account a considered approach to the environment. The new taxi operator has committed itself to an increasing share of electric cars in the fleet servicing the airport. In the last year of the contract validity, at least one in ten orders will be handled using an electric car. Passengers will also have the opportunity to rate the service and the driver retrospectively, where a poor rating may prevent the driver from further providing the service at the airport.
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