eCabs to be 100% Green by 2025

Mobility company eCabs is embarking on an ambitious project that will see it run entirely on green vehicles by 2025. The initiative was announced by eCabs CEO Matthew Bezzina in the presence of Minister for Energy, Enterprise, and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli.

 

Minister Dalli welcomed this investment as a strong signal by the private sector that wants to be part of the Government’s vision to decarbonise the economy by 2050.

 

“The private sector will find the Government on its side in its transition towards a more sustainable economy. My Ministry, together with other government entities, is working hard on a holistic strategy that will help encourage the take up of zero and low-emission vehicles,” Dr Dalli said.

 

She explained that a further take up by the private sector will help Malta reach its targets. “We can only reach our national targets if everyone is onboard. The Government is doing its part to encourage and facilitate the use of methods that are less harmful towards the environment, both financially and logistically,” the Minister said.

 

On his part, Mr Bezzina welcomed the commitment from Government adding: “The project to electrify our whole fleet and install all the required infrastructure will mean a significant investment by eCabs, which does require equal commitment from Government to ensure that the infrastructure to support electric mobility be implemented. This support given to this vision is welcome and encouraging”.

 

The electrification process has started with the launch of a number of fully electric vehicles including models from KIA, Hyundai and Citroen that join the existing hybrid vehicles in the eCabs fleet.

 

Mr. Bezzina continued that positives could be taken from the sacrifices all had to endure in 2020, “The restrictions during last year’s lockdown sent our industry into a spiral, but on a more positive note less traffic meant reduced air pollution and cleaner air for everyone. The country although eerily deserted, was more liveable than it was for ages. This strengthened our resolve to cement our ongoing vision towards becoming even more sustainable and inspired our eCabs Greener Future initiative,” stated Matthew Bezzina.

 

“We are seeking more sustainable and cleaner operations in everything we are doing, including the future development of our owned spaces as well as a sustainable framework which includes incentivising and supporting our partner drivers to follow in these footsteps,” added Mr. Bezzina.

 

Concurrently and in support to this commitment, eCabs will also be launching a scheme to incentivise its partner drivers to invest in EVs or Hybrids including an improved financial model and other frameworks.

 

eCabs officially launched its Partner Drivers initiative late last year following the Public Service Garage reform concluded and launched by Government. The initiative offers self-employed drivers the opportunity to work for Malta’s leading home-grown mobility provider non-exclusively, essentially allowing drivers to increase their revenue stream possibilities, much needed in these troubling times.

 

eCabs awarded as most inclusive company

Earlier this year, eCabs expanded its fleet to include a fully equipped van with a motorised lift, capable to serve both wheelchair users and other passengers accompanying them.

To date, 1500 persons have used this service which eCabs has been offering free of charge.

Launched last April, the service is being offered to all persons certified by the CRPD as requiring accessible transport, who would need to visit a hospital or a clinic, be they public or private.

In addition, a training programme was launched together with Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) in order to train staff members how to ensure the right service level is offered to people with disabilities.

At eCabs, inclusivity is not only limited to its employees, but is also reflected through services it offers, in line with its strategic commitment to offer affordable mobility to everyone.

eCabs has just been awarded the ‘Premju Soċjetà Ġusta’ as the workplace that offers the most inclusive environment. eCabs was shortlisted together with another 16 companies including Lombard Bank, GO, Mizzi Organisation, G4S, General Soft Drinks, JF Group, Camilleri Holdings and Maypole amongst others.

Receiving the award, eCabs’ Chief Officer for Human Capital and Corporate Services Marvin Cuschieri said “this award comes as an honour to our company and is testament to the consistent and committed work we undertake to make eCabs a model employer that is looking into the future with resolve towards its ambitious objectives. This year has dealt us quite a surprise and we’ve had to adapt across the board very quickly to be able to support our people and their diverse needs.”

“But this year also taught us a lot, especially that no matter what the circumstances are, we need to keep supporting our people as best we can. The company in fact, offers flexible work arrangements with its staff, learning and development opportunities and promotes an equal and inclusive environment,” added Mr. Cuschieri.

Human dignity must always remain a priority.

COVID 19 has exposed the ugly side of gig work, leaving vulnerable workers exposed to the brutality of operating in an unregulated market.

As the pandemic tore through economies highly dependent on tourism and travel, ride-hailing drivers witnessed their incomes dwindle, consequently forcing them to work long inhumane hours in deteriorating conditions. It also provided opportunities, and accelerated the rise of delivery, creating industries requiring new skill sets and adjustments to pay expectations.

On the demand side, customers crave the convenience of meals delivered to their homes and offices and taxi rides that are just a tap away. On the supply side, workers grasp the opportunity to work in a flexible manner.

The gig economy is here to stay. In the spirit of fairness and sustainability, Malta must adopt a proactive approach in creating a ‘third way’ of regulating platform/gig economy work, and provide platform workers basic protection from unforeseen economic cycles, seasonal shocks in demand, and on-the-job injuries.

A thriving business should never come at the cost of human dignity. Let’s not wake up when it’s too late.

Matthew Bezzina, eCabs CEO

 

Read more: https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/106209

eCabs Proof That R&D is Way Forward for Country

“Maltese culture is not inducive of risk. Few people are willing to take risks and this is why a company like eCabs who ten years ago took a leap of faith and courage, needs to be a role model for tomorrow’s generations.” 

 

This was stated by Opposition Leader Dr Bernard Grech during a visit to eCabs’ Head Offices in St Julian’s.

 

The Opposition Leader praised eCabs for its long-term vision that notwithstanding the challenges, persevered for 10 years with unwavering determination and courage, invested in innovation and technology and become a leader in mobility.

 

“Malta should put research and development at the top of its priorities and direct serious investment towards this sector because Malta holds a lot of potential and talent that needs to be tapped. Proof of this is the success story that is eCabs – a successful start-up that has grown into an enterprise and is now looking beyond our shores,” said Dr Bernard Grech.

 

“Believing in local talent should not merely stop at applauding start-ups but should translate into tangible actions most notably through the creation of an ecosystem that encourages the flow of venture capital and investment support to move innovative ideas from concept to market,” said eCabs CEO Matthew Bezzina.

 

Matthew Bezzina recalled how 10 years ago, eCabs embarked on a journey to radically transform passenger mobility through the application of technology.

 

“We started small but with big aspirations. We succeeded to make the leap from start-up to enterprise and now making our first steps to take our dream into international waters. The growth-path was far from plain-sailing, within a system that instead of nurturing growth, acted more as a barrier. If Malta wants to be the tech destination it aspires to be, we need to collectively act on empowering start-ups and tech ventures to grow and make the same leap we made,” added Mr Bezzina. 

eCabs Rebrand

eCabs implements pioneering Passenger Safety Charter

eCabs is the first mobility service provider in Malta to ever implement and commit to a comprehensive Passenger Safety Charter, through which it is voluntarily self-regulating its standards to ensure the highest level of passenger safety in the provision of its services.

The Charter titled ‘eCabs and You’ represents a commitment by the Company to consistently take proactive measures to ensure the safety of its passengers and drivers, as well as creating and promoting a responsible environment for safer Maltese roads.

“From day one, our commitment has not only been that of bringing positive disruption and meaningful change in our sector but also to help raise the bar when it comes to standards across the board. Passenger and driver safety are at the inner core of our services: this is why we decided to go the extra mile and impose on ourselves standards which go beyond those stipulated by the Law” says Matthew Bezzina, CEO of eCabs.

“It is within this spirit that we have been working on the Passenger Safety Charter for the past months and today we are proud to have reached this very important milestone in our journey. We have researched and sought international best practice and shaped a Charter which will set the gold-standard for mobility in Malta. The ‘eCabs & You’ Passenger Safety Charter is defined by our brand values, being in touch with what matters most to passengers, drivers and all those with whom we share the road, including pedestrians, cyclists and people in other vehicles,” added Matthew Bezzina.

The Charter is enabled by the fact that eCabs’ remains the only operator that boasts a 24/7 controlled environment with an over-riding safety-first priority. Whilst the entire operation is fully technology-driven, eCabs retains an element of manned and logistical control, ensuring constant support for the hundreds of drivers, full control over drivers’ trips, tracking of locations and system access control.

‘eCabs & You’ defines the rights and responsibilities of both the passengers and the drivers, clearly defining the parameters within which a journey is to take place. The Charter covers all key areas including customer care, health and safety, vehicle sanitisation, driver behavior, passenger interaction, mutual respect and emergency protocols.

Greta Borg Bezzina, Operations Director at eCabs, said “the Charter sets out the parameters for safe travel guidelines, clearly sets out how complaints are handled, promotes the ease of booking through the multichannel booking options and states the Company’s ‘Lost & Found’ policy whereby items found in cabs following a drop-off are returned to customers through eCabs’ 24/7 contact centre.

“eCabs is not only committed to take passenger and driver safety very seriously but to also drive positive action by everyone to take safety on the road seriously. Our Passenger Safety Charter is a mutually beneficial tool being enshrined in the fabric of the Company. Passengers will understand better their rights and responsibilities, as well as those of their driver, and benefit from the peace of mind knowing they are trusting a Company where their safety is not a mere hashtag, but a core value. We are committed to keep on leading the space of passenger safety and trust that our Charter will inspire all stakeholders in the sector into nurturing a true commitment towards road safety,” concluded Greta Borg Bezzina.

eCabs sets new Safety and Comfort Standards in School Transport.

As an integral step in the shaping of its leading mobility solutions portfolio, eCabs has launched a new service line for school transport, which is setting the standard for mobility involving children in Malta.

Safety, professionalism and comfort have been cornerstones of the eCabs brand promise since its first day of operations over a decade ago. Expand this into the performance of school runs, particularly in the middle of such a challenging period shaped by the Covid-19 restrictions, has spurred eCabs to once again raise the bar of  existing standards and service offering, to meet international best practice. The fleet of highly sanitised people carriers dedicated to the school run service were very well received by parents, being fully aware of eCabs’ unwavering commitment to the highest health and safety protocols.

“Once again we are raising the bar. We are humbled by the response of the parents who chose to trust their children in eCabs’ hands, confirming the high regard there already exists about our health and safety standards. Unlike traditional school runs, we are also offering the service of collection and drop-off outside the children’s home, rather than the traditional meeting-point, translating into more convenience but even more safety for the children to remain within the proximity of their home until picked up” says Simon Debono, Chief Marketing Officer at eCabs.

eCabs’ fleet procedures includes an intensive sanitisation process, whilst all drivers are equipped with disinfectant sprays and wipes to constantly sanitise all high touch areas within the vehicle.

Fewer children than the maximum capacity per vehicle are being accommodated to avoid overcrowding, improve safety and respect social distancing provisions even within the van. 8-seater people carriers which have been deployed are purposely selected to reduce the number of children in contact with each other in every run and as little as 6 children are being accommodated in each 8-seater. In the case when 16 seaters are being used, the number of children has been limited to 11.

The eCabs drivers have been given specialised one-to-one training related to the varying guidelines and requirements of the different schools, with hand sanitizer provided on board each vehicle being used, the assurance that all children wear their masks onboard, as well as fastened seatbelts before each trip commences. Attendance is also being taken per trip to further enhance the safety and tracing of the childrens on each trip.

“As a parent, I know all too well that when it comes to school transport, we want the peace of mind that our children are on time for school and back home afterwards in the safest hands possible,” added Mr Debono.

Fewer children on board of the vans also mean shorter round trips and better management by drivers. All routes have also been optimized through the eCabs proprietary data platform, to minimuse the transit period from home to school and vice-versa. For added flexibility, eCabs is also offering its 24-hour support service contact centre where parents can get in touch and advise of any sudden changes so that eCabs can plan and adapt to any changes to the route accordingly, as well as the adoption of the Lost & Found service being a handy addition to school runs.

eCabs Acquires Elegance Chauffeur Drive

The leading mobility company eCabs has embarked on its next stage of growth through its first acquisition in the local market, through which it is strengthening its executive and luxury service offer with the acquisition of Elegance Chauffeur Drive, one of Malta’s leading chauffeur companies.

The deal includes the integration of Elegance’s core team, as well as its extensive fleet of premium vehicles, thus bolstering eCabs’ existing executive and luxury offering both in terms of numbers and service execution, making eCabs the largest luxury transport service provider on the island.

Elegance was established in 2017 to focus on the premium segment having built itself into one of Malta’s leading chauffeur providers, servicing leading personalities such as royalty, celebrities and VIPs alike, with a steadfast and consistent detail-oriented approach.

“This move is in line with our long-term growth strategy, which includes a planned string of mobility acquisitions. We have a clear and unflinching vision of transformation, from a multi-channel ride-hailing platform, to an end-to-end technology logistics and multimodality company. Through our acquisitions programme we now aim to consolidate the local market and integrate our offering to provide the highest level of services with the most competitive rates on the island. Our ambitions for internationalisation remain firmly in our sights and the local acquisitions will enable us to go to the international market with a uniquely strong offering,” says Matthew Bezzina, CEO of eCabs.

Simon Debono, eCabs’ Chief Officer Marketing & Business Development added “this acquisition is a clear reflection of our commitment to keep investing and strengthening our position in the market, in this case with dedicated attention to the premium segment. We are delighted to on-board the exceptional Elegance team within the eCabs team, where together, we shall be taking our luxury and premium service to new levels, matching the highest international standards.” 

eCabs has ramped up its capital investments in 2020 with a clear long-term strategy, including investment in an extension of its head office in St Julian’s and a significant investment in the growth of its technology team which houses its team in Malta, Turkey and Belarus. 

“Despite the hit delved by Covid-19, we have kept our focus on growth, expansion into new verticals and the optimisation of our operations. We are now at a stage wherein we shall take the company to the next level with confidence and a passion to enhance mobility on our islands and beyond” added Matthew Bezzina.

People in technology spotlight. Bernhardt Engerer, Data Analyst at eCabs Technology Division.

Notwithstanding these challenging times, eCabs keeps investing in its resources with BERNHARDT ENGERER as the latest addition to its in-house team of data analysts. “I already knew eCabs as a tech-oriented company, but I never expected the level of human-machine interaction driving this company towards the future of mobility”, he says.

What is your background and why did you go into data analysis?

Although I started my career in software development, I transitioned into the field of data analysis quite early on in my career, and have been perfecting my skills in this area for the past 6 years.  When I originally started digging my teeth into data analysis, it consisted mainly in developing visualisation tools, such as trend graphs and charts, analysing historical time sensitive data in order to gain a clear understanding of any seasonal trends. 

Eventually, as I started delving into more complex machine learning and A.I. techniques, I got more intrigued by the insight that data could provide and the way businesses are making strategic decisions based on insight. Rather than just reporting results of past actions, I started focusing on understanding the outcomes and making inferences from these outcomes. One of my biggest motivations in pursuing my career in data analytics is being able to aggregate data from multiple sources, create interactive visuals to interpret it and then create or apply algorithms that learn from that data to solve real-life problems. 

What was your perception of eCabs before you joined and what attracted you?  

I always associated eCabs with mobility technology and industry disruption. 

As a person with a fascination for big data, I aspired to work for a company that appreciates the value of data and invests in it. Working at eCabs as a Data Analyst is a unique opportunity for me to work closely with like-minded individuals to extract trends and usage patterns from the wealth of information that is available to us. We use a variety of data augmentation techniques and develop tools that help us reveal interesting insight, which in turn helps the company to make more informed decisions.

What was your induction like?

I joined at a very particular time. It was the second week of March. On my first day, I found myself in an empty office as all the tech team had already moved out of the office to work from home. Despite the new reality and the challenges of remote working I immediately felt part of a young and dynamic team. Thanks to the communication tools and the support I received from management, my integration within the team was efficient and effective.  I was warmly welcomed by everyone and have quickly developed great professional and personal relationships.  I swiftly realized how important my role was and the value that I could bring to the company.

What were your technology expectations about eCabs?

As a client, by simply interacting with the app I always knew that technology lay at the heart of its customer-centric mentality.  What I perhaps did not appreciate before joining was the level of human-machine interaction that pervades the organisation. Behind the multiple booking channels there is an intricate mosaic of technologies that interact with each other seamlessly, designed to achieve one common goal: that of providing an unparalleled customer experience end to end.  The question remains: how can eCabs harness the industry knowledge and experience garnered over a decade and translate that into an even better customer experience? That is where AI will come in and that, I believe, will be part of my role moving forward. Technology will continue to play a key part in helping the company make sense of the large volume of data in a fast and automated way.

What impressed you mostly at eCabs?

I am mostly impressed by the sheer dedication of all my colleagues and the involvement of everybody on the team to ensure that we deliver a top-quality product, together with the genuine excitement when I can provide new visibility into a trend or KPI which may have been previously less visible. I was also very impressed with the hands-on approach that  management brings to the table, taking such an active role in the day-to-day running of the business.  Having amassed the vast experience over the years in this industry, it really is a big asset we gladly leverage and learn from.

How do you usually approach a new project?

I first make sure to have a thorough understanding of the requirements, suggesting improvements where possible. I then execute the project with an iterative approach, such that stakeholders are asked for feedback along the way in order to fine-tune the requirements where necessary. I like to seek the stakeholders’ direct involvement to instill a sense of ownership, since the ultimate goal is to develop a tool to help them perform their role better or more efficiently, rather than just developing a tool to be used sporadically.

In what ways do you see data analysis determining the future of this industry?

I believe the keyword is efficiency, specifically with on-demand mobility, but also with pre-scheduled trips. Data analysis alone will not provide this increased efficiency, but harnessing the data at our disposal and using the power of AI will lead to the industry being able to have mobility options in the right place, at the right time.  This increased efficiency will undoubtedly serve to improve the customer experience by passing on the cost-savings whilst also keeping waiting times low, thereby increasing the convenience of our service.

eCabs Supporting the Malta Trust Foundation

“The fact that since this pandemic hit Malta three months ago, the Food Aid Depot operating from Floriana has had to open 15 sub-depots across Malta and Gozo says a lot about the current situation and how desperate it has become for many households to simply put food on the table,” says H.E. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca whose Malta Trust Foundation is currently busy running the Food Aid Depot.

Operating from the Malta Trust Foundation’s premises in Floriana, the Food Aid Depot is currently delivering 6000 food packages to over 1700 households across Malta and Gozo. 

“These amounts are beyond shocking and it is therefore very important for us all to remain sensitized and aware that for many families, the situation has become very desperate and far from simple. Distribution of all the food packages entails a massive logistics coordination and we feel very lucky to have found the very generous support of eCabs who for the past two months have been assisting us with emergency last minute deliveries of food packages even on weekends,” added H.E. Coleiro Preca who founded the Malta Trust Foundation in 2015 to support and bring real and significant impact in the lives of disadvantaged young people and individuals.

Greta Borg Bezzina, Director of Operations at eCabs mentioned that the company’s mission was always to bring disruption to the mobility sector and the way people commute. 

“However, this disruption is nothing compared to the disruption that this pandemic has dealt to thousands of families and individuals. Therefore, supporting the community at this very fragile time with our infrastructure has now become eCabs’ mission, in line with the supportiveness value the brand embraces and priority. At the same time, we are indebted to the many volunteers who are making the Food Aid Depot a living miracle every day,” added Borg Bezzina.

Although the main depot is located in Floriana, the past 3 months have seen another 15 sub-depots opening in Paola, Bormla, Żabbar, Żejtun, Marsa, Qormi, Siġġiewi, Mosta, Senglea, Għaxaq, Mqabba, Sliema, Floriana, Birkirkara and Gozo with the help of parish priests, local councils and schools.

“The basement of St Aloysius College’s 6th Form for example, is acting as our sub-depot in Birkirkara. Gozo too has many families in need, way beyond the 135 households we are already providing food to. And besides the Floriana depot acting as our main base, the bulk of the food is currently going to our Sliema sub-depot located in St Patrick’s home,” she added. 

“We are also extremely grateful to companies like eCabs, who have chosen to support our cause by applying what they do best to help the community in these very difficult times for everyone. It is admirable how every time we are faced with emergency deliveries, eCabs is always very responsive and makes sure that our food packages reach the families in need. Together, we want to keep working to make sure no one is left behind,” concluded H.E. Coleiro Preca.