An electric motorbike taxi service developed by a Parisian startup, Felix offers its passengers fast, clean and inexpensive transport around town.
The four founders of the Felix project were inspired to create a new taxi app for Paris following a trip to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, where "moto-dops" negotiate potholes in ferrying their fares around the city at very low prices. Thibault Guérin, Félix Laffont, Bénédicte Giraud and Thibault Suty are the quartet in question and have developed a platform offering electric motorbike taxis driven by professional drivers and designed as a speedy, clean, inexpensive and democratic alternative to Paris’ customary private-hire taxi services, as reported by Forbes.
An alternative to Uber?
Originally inspired by the French platform Heetch, the Felix project was initially designed to allow people to ferry others around on electric scooters. Its founders soon came up against regulatory constraints, however. "In September 2016 we decided to pay a visit to BMW Motorrad. We tied up a partnership with them and got ten scooters as a result," explained Guérin.
With the aid of beta testers, who have helped target its market, Felix now offers a genuine alternative to Uber. "The main thing we’ve learned from our first few months in business is that Parisians have really taken to Felix to get from one part of the city to another," added the young entrepreneur.
Cheaper than an ordinary motorbike taxi
With fares costing an average of €18 and calculated per kilometre, Felix works out much cheaper than the average €73 fare charged by conventional motorbike taxis, a saving that is mainly down to the fact that electric vehicles are much cheaper to insure than petrol-powered motorbikes.
Guérin also pointed out that an electric scooter only costs €15,000, while a Gold Wing motorbike, for example, costs €40,000.
A fleet of more than 100 motorbike taxis
The sector leader in Paris, Felix has teamed up with the CityBird platform, allowing it to take its initial fleet of ten scooters up to nearly 100, some of them with combustion engines. "We have connected our APIs, which means that when you place an order on the Felix platform for a conventional motorbike taxi, you never leave our user path," said Guérin. "We have a cross-referencing system because our users are different. The Felix customer is more urban and trendier, is aged between 25 and 35, and makes short journeys in Paris, while the Citybird customer makes longer journeys."
The startup now has around a hundred partner drivers and is planning to conquer the UK, Spanish and Italian markets.
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