All the interviews, articles and blogs to do with eCabs’ mobility product and technology on the eCabs website will fall under this tag.


It takes experience to fix the user experience

It takes experience to fix the user experience

When it comes to learning the ropes, nothing really beats hands-on experience.

But what if you grab that experience and couple it with innovative tech, and a team of gifted engineers? That’s where the magic happens.

To me, that’s what sets eCabs apart from other ride-hailing and taxi platforms.

It’s a technology company that also has years of real-world, hands-on industry expertise.

That’s because, over the years, eCabs has transitioned from a traditional dial-a-cab operation to a digital platform-based taxi and booking dispatch platform with multiple revenue streams.

eCabs embraced the power of emerging technology and built on more than a decade of real-life experience.

“You just can’t fake that kind of experience”

Thirteen years ago, when I was in my early 20s, one of my first part-time jobs was driving cabs – with eCabs.

And I cut my teeth working at our first operations centre smack in the middle of St Julian’s, Malta’s busiest urban centre.

Picking up customers, dropping them off, taking booking reservations, and working around traffic flows and people’s lifestyles.

It taught me a lot about the realities of this industry.

I learnt what it means to get stuck in traffic because you aren’t sure about the best route.

Or how peak passenger numbers change depending on a whole range of factors – like is it the middle of summer? Are you on the West or East coast? Is the area you’re driving through urban or suburban?

This was at a time when mobile data was prohibitively expensive and mapping apps were practically inexistent.

And I’m not alone.

Key members of the eCabs and eCabs Technologies leadership teams were also there at the beginning of this journey.

You just can’t fake that kind of experience.

Because when it comes down to it, you need to know how something works if you’re going to have any chance of fixing it.

Our job is to continuously refine our tech offering, making our product smarter, faster, and more user-friendly for all our users – whether that’s riders, drivers, and now also our city partners.

eCabs Technologies Head of Product Marvin Briffa

As an aside, eCabs is also the kind of company that believes in personal growth.

Over the years I furthered my education, studying business administration at prestigious European universities – this was possible in no small part to the support and encouragement I received from eCabs.

Going global

Today, as Head of Product, I work with a team of business analysts, product owners, product managers, UI UX designers, talented engineers and gifted data crunchers.

Our job is to continuously refine our tech offering, making our product smarter, faster, and more user-friendly for all our users – whether that’s riders, drivers, and now also our city partners.

And when we’re not fine-tuning our existing offering, we’re creating new products to enrich our suite too.

We’re doing all this because 2023 is shaping up to be a big year for eCabs.

Taking our tech solutions and industry know-how to new jurisdictions is the next step in this journey.

At eCabs, we know how to help traditional taxi operations transition and embrace the solutions that tech offers the mobility sector.

We know this because we’ve already done it.

We know the teething problems and growing pains – like the resistance to embrace new technology or the fear that that tech is out to get them.

We’ve been there.

We’ve also learnt what it’s like to re-educate a market. One that’s used to thinking of mobility and transport in set ways.

But those ways are increasingly less compatible with contemporary lifestyles.

And another thing: This isn’t one-size-fits-all.

Each city has its own requirements – its own particular reality.

That’s why our team includes product owners and development teams from diverse backgrounds and cultures that are dedicated to creating new city-specific features.

We’re taking our tech global, and we’re pumped!

eCabs Tech IRL

Tech IRL

Tech is over-hated.

Whether it’s machines or machine learning – we expect perfection from technology.

As people, we’re more forgiving of mistakes made by other people than we are of tech.

And I get it – I know how great it is when ride-hailing tech works smoothly and how frustrating it can be if something goes wrong.

That’s why, every day, our engineers at eCabs Technologies work hard on finding new innovative ways to bridge the gap between our technology and the real world.

The world over, tech businesses have dropped the ball because they allowed themselves to become disconnected from the communities they serve.

They’ve been criticised for their predominantly white male workforce and accused of perpetuating biases that lead to products and services that don’t adequately address the needs of their customers.

Disconnected tech companies have been responsible for facial recognition systems with racial bias, location algorithms that discriminate against low-income areas, and service options that limit users to binary gender categories, leaving people feeling excluded, or worse.

Real people interacting with real people

Unlike so many other tech companies, eCabs isn’t just about people interacting with our technology.

It’s also about real people interacting with real people.

That’s because our technology is just one component in a relationship that also involves drivers, riders, and urban communities.

Our role as a company is to manage this relationship.

Take our drivers.

We call them partner drivers for a reason.

For our customers, they are the human face of a business that otherwise only exists through a digital interface.

That’s why at our engineering lab we have a team of developers working to ensure our technology serves these people as well as it should.

Like ensuring our payment system is always stable and reliable – because we know that drivers depend on that income.

It’s also why we regularly engage with partner drivers to know what they’re experiencing behind the wheel and how we can make our system better.

We ask questions like ‘How much information is too much information, for someone who is meant to be keeping their eyes on the road?’

Part of the solution

eCabs also actively engages with the communities we operate in – whether that’s supporting local leaders to green our urban spaces or meeting with national-level regulators to find better ways to manage traffic flows.

When we say we’re part of the solution, we mean it.

We’re trying to find better ways of connecting drivers and riders with the urban areas they are moving through, creating routes that make for better journeys for users – drivers and riders alike.

Ultimately, it creates a better experience for the real-life users of our service.

Because we know that eCabs doesn’t live in a vacuum.

Our tech exists in the real world.

Using machine learning for cost optimisation

Using machine learning for cost optimisation

As a marketing data analyst working in the tech mobility industry, I mainly work on tasks centred around the needs and requirements of the Marketing Department.

But I also get to collaborate with different teams and work on projects that need my technical and scientific expertise.

I was recently approached by eCabs International Business Development Manager Ruslan Golomovzy as part of a large-scale project.

The task: to plan a permanent mobility solution for transporting hundreds of people to various destinations from an initial central location. And then back to their original destinations.

The goal: to assist the client in a cost-cutting exercise, reducing travel time (by 50%) to ensure employee satisfaction.  

It was a tall order that presented a unique set of challenges. Just the sort of thing I like to sink my teeth into.

We couldn’t simply provide an infinite number of rides for the users. Since that would strain the budget resources and interfere with restrictions set by our client.

So, what could we do instead? Eventually the discussion turned to machine learning.

Using the predictive model which I created, I was able to approximate the volumes of users during the project’s time window. You can find an explanation of this predictive model in my previous blog post.

I therefore had a rough estimate of how many cabs we could use for this project. I will denote this number of available (and maximum) cabs as the letter K.

K-means clustering algorithm

At an initial glance, it seems like a relatively easy exercise, right? Clustering locations that are within a certain radial distance and providing transportation that suffices to hold each cluster.

Optimising the number of vehicles ensures minimal resource cost and maximum customer experience.

On a small scale, this can be done manually or visually. But this particular exercise had hundreds of passengers, from varying destinations spread all over Malta.

So, I took a look at my scientific toolkit. And I decided to use an unsupervised learning technique called the K-means clustering algorithm.

This centroid-based algorithm is widely used in Machine Learning. It is used for grouping sets of unlabelled data points together based on a minimisation of the sum of the distances between the data points and their corresponding K clusters.

Identifying the most efficient trip paths

By clustering the pickup and drop-off locations of our customers, we are able to identify the most efficient trip paths together with the optimal number of cabs for this particular event that ensured minimal waiting time too.

Machine learning Julia Vella eCabs Technologies Marketing Data Analyst
Above is a screenshot with a small portion of the geographical locations for pickup, showing how it is not as simple as visually grouping points.

To get started, I collected the geographical locations of the pickup and drop-off locations in latitudes and longitudes coordinates in order to pre-process the data.

I plotted them on a map to visualise the distribution across Malta. So that I could give a first guess at the number of clusters I thought would suffice. Thus ensuring it was less than (or equal to) the K value I previously determined.

However, it is important to note that most cases would need the use of the Elbow method in order to find the optimal number of clusters.

Where the ‘magic’ happens

I wrote a small Python script to train the K-mean clustering algorithm on my dataset. And it grouped these locations into K clusters based on their proximity to each other.

Training is where the magic happens. In this case, training was performed by assigning each data point to the cluster with the closest centroid. And the variance is then calculated for each point such that a new centroid is placed within each cluster.

This is an interactive procedure that repeats until reassignment occurs. In which case the model stops, and the K clusters are finalised.

I ended up with a less value of clusters than I had previously estimated, which was satisfactory.

The final clustering results were plotted on the map to visualise the algorithm’s suggestion.

It was interesting to note that some clusters contained many people and thus demanded the need for a larger vehicle. Whereas some clusters only contained two people such that a smaller vehicle sufficed.

At first glance, we wanted to group these small clusters in other larger ones to reduce the cab quantity. But upon inspection it made more sense to leave them isolated due to their distance from the centralised pickup location and thus much larger driving time – which was a much-appreciated suggestion from the method.

Saving time, money, and resources through machine learning

It is important to note that at the end of the day, these models are objective suggestions. Such that if certain requests are made by the users or if a B2B client has further restrictions, limitations, or requirements, they can easily supersede these results in the final planning stage.

In conclusion, the K-mean clustering algorithm proved to be a valuable tool for optimising trip paths and the number of resources needed for our large-scale collaborative project.

By using this machine learning technique, I was able to offer the B2B team a solution to save time, money, and resources. While still providing excellent service to our customers, cutting waiting time by 50%.


Andrew Bezzina traffic congestion

eCabs Malta CEO suggests solutions as traffic leads to students missing exams

Students are missing O’ Level exams due to the ever-growing traffic congestion on the island of Malta – and eCabs Malta CEO Andrew Bezzina has taken to social media to share some possible solutions.

Traffic congestion and roadworks continue to be a major problem for students trying to get to their exams on time.

As a father of two, it won’t be long before my kids are sitting for their O’ levels and my family will have to shuffle between work and ensuring they get to their exams.

This can be a logistical nightmare for families.

What can be done to alleviate this situation?

Here’s a suggestion: rather than having students from all over the island flood into a single examination centre, the authorities should explore carrying out Matsec exams in students’ own schools or in regional catchment areas to avoid generating more traffic.

Rather than students travel to their exam centres, the exams centres should come to them.

As a tech company, at eCabs we collect huge volumes of data on traffic flows which show that Matsec season clogs up central areas of the island.

Transport authorities could draft cycle and walking routes for students within a five-kilometre radius and even encourage public transport for students as an affordable and reliable alternative to being driven to their exams.

We believe that by working together, we can create a better and more efficient system for everyone.

Let’s work together to ensure that students have access to the education they need, without the stress of navigating through traffic.

The reason behind the traffic chaos

According to online portal Lovin Malta, it seems that most of the traffic originated from the road closure of Triq is-Salina which will be out of bounds to vehicular traffic until 15th June.

Some students and their parents reported leaving their homes at 7.30 am and still not arriving at their destination by 9.00 am, with standstill traffic being reported along the St Paul’s Bay area from 7.00 am onwards.

In the press:

Lovin Malta | Times of Malta | Malta CEOs | Malta Daily

Understanding Mobility as a Service

The future of transportation? Understanding Mobility as a Service

In this blog post, we discuss what Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is. We also touch upon its key features, and why it is essential for the future of transportation.

‘Fast-paced’ has become an understated adjective in today’s world. People are not only constantly on the move, but the speed of getting from A to B has become an invaluable currency. Transportation is an integral and essential part of our daily lives.

New technologies and service providers have created the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

MaaS has the potential to transform the way we move, making it easier, cheaper, and more convenient for everyone.

The state of transportation today

The transportation sector is currently a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. These emissions have negative consequences for public health and the environment.

Moreover, traffic congestion is a major problem in many cities. This results in lost productivity, increased travel time, and increased fuel consumption.

The future of transportation needs to be more efficient, sustainable, and accessible to all.

What exactly is Mobility as a Service?

Mobility as a Service is a concept that integrates various modes of transportation. It allows its users to make their journey planning easier. It does this by allowing them to plan, book, and pay for multiple types of modes of transportation through a digital single payment channel.

MaaS offers travellers mobility solutions based on their needs, combining transportation services from both public and private transportation providers.

The service is backed by a unified gateway that creates and handles the trip end to end. Users can then pay for the service via a single account.

The MaaS ecosystem is made up of several stakeholders, including transportation providers, technology providers, and service integrators.

The service integrator is responsible for aggregating transportation services and making them available to users through a single platform.

Democratising access to mobility

eCabs International Business Development Manager Ruslan Golomovzy explains that Mobility as a Service is the first step towards democratising access to mobility for all, across all modes of transport – through technology.

“The integration of various transport modes – public transport, ride-sharing, bike-sharing, car-sharing and private cabs – into a technology offering that is intuitive has been a revolutionary approach to tackling the dominance of the private car and freeing up cities to be used by people, not vehicles.”

We can consider that there are four key aspects to MaaS:

  • Convenience.
  • Sustainability.
  • Costs.
  • Access.

“Access to mobility is about generating smiles, not miles. It has to be convenient for the end user and create options in how they choose to travel. MaaS must be sustainable through alternative transportation and compete with the use cases of private vehicles. Cost savings should come from optimisation of the various types of transport and providing flexibility for the end-user in planning their routes based on the associated costs. Finally, the accessibility of MaaS through technology allows underserved areas to have equal exposure to the MaaS revolution.”

The democratisation of mobility, alongside the environmental impacts, leads to healthier societies. It also gives rise to better use of the existing infrastructure and the development of more efficient mobility, namely in the micro mobility sphere.

Key features and benefits

One of the key benefits of MaaS is convenience. With a single digital channel, users can plan, book, and pay for multiple types of transportation in a single process.

MaaS also offers travellers the ability to compare transportation options and make informed decisions about their journeys.

A MaaS journey planner can provide different options for getting from one destination to another. For instance, one could combine using public transport and a train.

MaaS provides access to real-time data about transportation options, allowing travellers to make informed decisions about their journeys. MaaS also offers travellers cost savings, as they can pay for transportation services through a single account.

Access to mobility is about generating smiles, not miles. It has to be convenient for the end user and create options in how they choose to travel.

eCabs International Business Development Manager Ruslan Golomovzy

Another key benefit of MaaS is that it can help to reduce the number of private cars on the road. This is because the economic benefit of owning a personal car may be questioned in favour of more reasonably priced on-demand car services.

“Say you buy a private car for extreme case use (the three yearly trips you do to London). This means that it spends more time parked than being used. Then take into consideration the resources required to build the very same vehicle and how those resources could be reallocated to the development and integration of more effective modes of mobility, not to mention natural resources,” Ruslan says.

MaaS can also improve mobility for those who do not have access to a car or who are unable to drive. It provides a more accessible and affordable alternative to traditional transportation options, significantly reducing the cost of transportation for individuals and families. This can benefit low-income households and those with disabilities.

The challenges of implementing MaaS

Although MaaS has the potential to transform the way we move around our cities, it also presents a number of challenges. There are many different modes of transportation, each with their own set of providers, regulations, and payment systems.

Integrating all of these modes into a single platform is a difficult task that requires collaboration and coordination between various stakeholders.

Another challenge is the need for interoperability between different transportation services. Ensuring a seamless transition between two or more services can be challenging, as each service may have its own payment system and user interface.

Moreover, since MaaS involves the collection and processing of large amounts of personal data, there is the need for strong data privacy and security measures.

Who is driving MaaS adoption?

For mass MaaS adoption to work, Ruslan stresses, stakeholders must realise that while the private car has been around for the last 120 years, with our cities redesigned and built for the private car, this is no longer feasible.

Shoehorning a massive societal change in a shorter timeframe is not possible without government involvement, from a regulatory and infrastructural point of view.

“Cities need to plan and develop mobility frameworks that enable MaaS providers to frictionlessly deploy and provide their services to share/gather user data and create a feedback loop with the government to consult and guide on future infrastructural developments. From a B2C standpoint, it is predominantly the under-35s who are driving MaaS adoption. We’re not seeing adoption by the older generation. Furthermore, corporate entities need to be thinking about implementing mobility policies internally to take advantage of the benefits of MaaS and can start doing so by going through a checklist on how to implement a mobility budget.”

Julia Vella driving data

Driving data to predict passenger volumes

I’m a Senior Data Analyst at eCabs Technologies. But when people ask me what I do all day – I tell them I’m storytelling

Data is a collection of raw and discrete values that make no particular sense at first glance. It usually sits inside a data warehouse, which not only stores, organises, and manages the data but also allows querying and quick analysis. It is a core component of business intelligence and creates a space for number crunching, reporting and scientific study.

As a marketing data analyst, my job involves collecting, organising, and analysing all the relevant data to help inform and sometimes answer business decisions, primarily centered around the Marketing department’s needs.

At its core, data analysis is the process of using statistical and mathematical techniques to make sense of the information available to us so that I can turn what looks like Matrix-style numbers into stories that even non-technical personnel can understand. 

Whether I’m looking for patterns in the number of rides requested at particular times of the day or trying to quantify the reasons for cancelled pick-ups, app open sessions or passenger ETA, what I’m really doing is asking questions to tell better and more relevant stories that can eventually answer some vital business questions.

So, while a lot of it is invisible to the naked eye at first, what I’m doing is uncovering information. By observing users under an analytical microscope and looking at their interaction within the ride-hailing industry.

I will use this blog space to talk about some of the nuts and bolts of what we do here at eCabs Technologies as we try to improve your mobility experience.      

But this first story is special to me. 

Asking the right question

In early 2023 I made use of a powerful yet relatively simple supervised learning method in my data analysis toolkit. It is called simple linear regression.

This technique allows me to investigate the relationship between two variables. These are often referred to as the independent variable (X) and the dependent variable (Y). In this case, the user volumes and driver hours respectively. By using simple linear regression, I can determine how changes in one variable affect the other variable.

I applied a linear regression analysis to a large data set that contained a few years’ worth of values for both the volumes of rides of eCabs users and that of partner driver hours.

This came about after asking this question. “How many more driver hours would it take to make a noticeable impact on user volumes?”. The answer may be  intuitive to some, so much so that you may have already guessed what type of relationship exists here, but to what degree?

I wanted to be able to quantify this to a relatively high accuracy. And be able to approximate how many more people would request rides if there was a controllable and known number of increased drivers available at a given time.

Doing my homework

Before applying this technique, I needed to first ensure that my data abided by and respected the standard rules and limitations of linear regression. As with any algorithm, we need to check the foundation of assumptions before we apply it. Otherwise, any analyst runs the risk of faulty and misleading results. 

The first is that simple linear regression assumes there is a linear relationship between the independent and dependent variables.

This may not always be the case though.

There may be non-linear relationships or interactions between the variables that are not captured by a simple linear mode. In our scenario we assume linearity over large scales. 

Other limitations include the assumptions of independence, homoscedasticity, and normal distribution.

If we do not respect these assumptions, then applying the algorithm anyway would provide errors and inaccuracies in the results that would deem them useless.

Outliers and influential data points may also distort the result, impacting the estimations. But for our exercise we may assume that these are all respected. 

Therefore, while useful analytical methods may be used for making predictions, it is important to research and respect their limitations. As well as carefully evaluate their assumptions and ensure the data follow in their shadows, especially when considering the potential sources of error when interpreting the results. 

“I used a very simple approach”

After carrying out this preliminary analysis, I adopted a very simple approach. That of extracting the two relevant fields from our data warehouse, and loaded them into arrays in Python.

I imported a few data science toolkits into my script, namely sklearn and sklearn.metrics.

I then split the arrays into training and testing sets as part of this learning algorithm and in order to use them in the relevant package.

The model was trained using these sets. And immediately made the necessary predictions as part of linear regression.

The resulting coefficient was outputed together with the mean-squared error to describe how well these two variables were related and to what degree they can be ‘trusted’.

Using best practices in data analysis

A simple line graph was fitted to the scatter plot of the dependent and independent variables to better display the relationship between them.

This forms part of the best practices in data analysis and science as plotting results is always the most concise and diligent way of communicating results. It also comes full-circle regarding the story-telling part of my expertise since a picture speaks a thousand words. 

I also found an equation for this fitted graph. So that, as simple as that, if we plug in the values for the number of driver hours that we have a direct impact and influence on, we can now approximate the user volumes that eCabs can expect.

We now have a way of influencing our independent variable (volumes) with our dependent one (hours).

This also gave a clear ‘maximum’ number of drivers that had absolutely no effect on the number of volumes. So much so, that no matter how much they increased past a certain amount, there were no noticeable fluctuations in users in the data and would instead cause the drivers to waste time.

This is saturation. It can be used to optimise hours on the road. Thus mitigating bad impressions and driver experience.

Improving customer and driver experience

This process taught me that it doesn’t always need to be impressive pipelines in complex code with a million data points.

Sometimes it is as simple as seeing how sets of variables grow or decay together, plotting a graph and finding the equation to best describe their relationship.

This is something that is done in beginner maths and physics. So next time a kid asks, “When will I use this in real life?”, get them to read this.

In the end, I settled on a multiplier that predicts passenger volumes in relation to the number of drivers out on the road with less than a 10% error margin.

The data said, ‘Hey if you put out say X more drivers at this time, you increase the probability of securing a passenger by Y’.

This changed how eCabs manages its relationship with all partner drivers.

We could see when we needed to incentivise for the supply of driver availability, and when we did not. Thus, ensuring there is no saturation of drivers.

This did not just improve customer experience, but by transitivity, that of the drivers working on the eCabs platform too.

For eCabs, we translated the formula into cost analysis, and revenue projections. It was even fed into marketing and operations plans.   

It was a win3.

Roberta Metsola European Parliament eCabs Matthew Bezzina

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola visits eCabs offices

On Monday 29th August, eCabs welcomed the European Parliament President Robert Metsola.

During her stay, the President went around the offices to meet members of staff, with a particular focus on technology, and discussed the future of the mobility industry in the EU with the organisation’s heads.

“It was a pleasure to share our ambitious vision and our internationalisation programme which is set to start in 2023 with President Metsola. We held meaningful discussions on our ESG agenda, the opportunities and the goals of our company, as well as technology and the future of the mobility industry within the European Union. It was also lovely to see how warmly our team greeted her and how well she interacted with them”, said Matthew Bezzina, eCabs Technologies CEO.

On her part, the European Parliament President wished eCabs success and further emphasised the importance of solid values in today’s business strategy.

Sustainability, innovation, green. Three characteristics which, in today’s world, should be the basis of any policy or project enacted by both public and private enterprises. Qualities that the Maltese company eCabs has embraced over the past years. This morning we spoke with team members at eCabs about how the European Union can do more for businesses, enterprises, and companies in Malta and across Europe”.

As Malta’s largest ride-hailing firm, eCabs remains committed to leading the industry with innovative technology solutions guided by ESG principles.

Key actions include drastically reducing the business’s carbon footprint whilst cultivating a multicultural team of technologists to fuel growth on an international scale.

In the press:

Malta CEOs

eCabs in record start to 2022

eCabs in record start to 2022

Maltese ride-hailing company eCabs has seen customer journeys during the first three months of 2022 grow by more than 50 per cent, compared to the same period in 2019, which is its best performing year to date. As the company gears up to expand internationally, Malta Today spoke with Dr Andrew Bezzina, CEO at eCabs’ Malta operation about how the ride-hailing company achieved this success and what the future holds.

“It’s easy to forget that just last January tens of thousands of people were in quarantine. Tourism and nightlife, our two main segments, were at a standstill compared to forecasts. To have emerged from such a poor start to year so strongly is a fantastic result and a testament to the quality and efficiency of the service we deliver,” says Dr Bezzina, reflecting on the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the business.

“Of course, we had already started to see a recovery in our business in the summer of 2021 when restrictions were first eased. But, the Omicron variant and, I must say, overly cautious decisions from various governments which heavily impacted travel, put a stop to that. Thankfully, things are looking a lot better now. In fact, the bounce back from the omicron variant is much swifter than initially anticipated and ride volumes in the first three months of the year are up more than 50 percent from those registered in the first quarter of our record year in 2019.”

Swift growth in customer journeys in 2022

When analysing the swift growth in customer journeys registered this year, Dr Bezzina highlights the increase in travel as a key factor. “With the airport once again becoming a popular pick-up and drop-off point again and an uptick in demand for longer rides, the average price per ride is also increasing steadily. This is paving the way for healthier EBIDTA margins”, he says, before adding that, “The return to working from the office and a generally more positive atmosphere is encouraging people to go out more, especially in the evenings. The further easing of restrictions announced this week is welcome as it will certainly further strengthen consumer confidence and further support the recovery in tourism.”

The current positive outlook would not have materialised had it not been for several key decisions taken at the height of the pandemic, many of which are proving their worth up to this day. “eCabs has always been a financially prudent business but the impact of the pandemic made us even more focused on taking a responsible approach to our business and operational decisions in swift fashion, and pushed us to continue fine tuning our operating costs,” explains Dr Bezzina. “A leaner and more dynamic operating model is certainly helping us to cope with inflation and the supply chain challenges that are now affecting Malta and the global economy.”

From a ride-hailing business to a technology platform

Aside from improvements in efficiency, a major focus for eCabs in recent months has been its technology company, Cuorium Technologies. “Becoming an international player in the mobility space means eCabs must continue its transformation from a Maltese ride-hailing business, to a technology platform deployed in various territories, serving customers and fleets anywhere in the world. We have invested heavily in this area over the past two years and the results we are seeing in Malta, with its complex infrastructure and demanding customers, prove that both our technology and our business model work,” says Dr Bezzina.

eCabs 2022 tech

Cuorium Technologies is, in fact, at the heart of eCabs’ plans for growth. “Our experience in Malta confirms that this technology can be taken into any market and we’re now working hard to raise the funding we need to move into carefully selected international markets. Whilst the interest has been extremely positive from various corners of the world, strategy leads our decisions.”

Partner Drivers

“2022 has started very well for eCabs and the outlook for our Malta operations is very positive. On this basis we have set ourselves the ambitious target of doubling the number of journeys we delivered in 2019. This, inevitably, means that we need to attract as many partner drivers as we can. We already have more than 1,400 partner drivers in Malta using our platform and will continue doing all we can to offer the best possible working conditions. Our engagement with drivers is also key to reducing the carbon footprint of our business as we work towards fulfilling our commitment to have a fully electric and hybrid fleet by 2025, something which is a key strategic priority for us. This year, eCabs will also be buying 15 electric vehicles for its own fleet,” continues Dr Bezzina.

The eCabs Malta CEO concludes, “A stronger than ever post pandemic recovery remains our key priority but despite the challenges, we didn’t lose sight of our long-term strategic goal. eCabs is merging from this challenging period in the best shape ever and is ready for an exciting and prosperous future.”

In the press:

Malta Today | Business Today

eCabs Chief Technology Officer Luca de Michele

eCabs appoint Chief Technology Officer

Technology arm poised for steady growth with appointment of Luca Di Michele as Chief Technology Officer.

Luca Di Michele has taken over the stewardship of eCabs’ technology team as Chief Technology Officer. He will be leading a growing multi-cultural team of software engineers from 13 nationalities. The team is building and shaping eCabs’ mobility technology platforms together with a growing extended team composed of QA specialists, product specialists, business analysts, and data analysts.

This appointment follows the company’s recent announcement of its corporate restructuring exercise. This saw the appointment of Andrew Bezzina as the new CEO for eCabs’ local operations. Matthew Bezzina is now leader for global operations and CEO for Cuorium Technologies, eCabs’ Technology arm.

Luca Di Michele joined eCabs in June of 2018 as a Senior Developer, moving on to Head of Development in September of 2019. In this role, he headed the team of developers at the newly set up Cuorium Technologies.

“Exciting times ahead of us” – eCabs Chief Technology Officer

“The company has been going through interesting phases of renewal and transformation over the past few years. I feel privileged to have been an integral part in shaping this transformation. We have built an awesome team of professionals here whom I am proud to have as colleagues. They are all driven by the same passion to see their creations come to life. And being given the liberty to explore and lead new technologies . We have exciting times ahead of us,” says Luca Di Michele, eCabs Chief Technology Officer.

eCabs Chief Technology Officer

Matthew Bezzina laid praise to eCabs’ new Chief Technology Officer saying, “Luca fully deserves this position. He has been given the space to grow. He has shown incredible ownership and leadership in building the technology that drives our platform with his team. Luca shares the same love and passion towards the brand as we do, and today knows this business inside out. We are fully confident that together with his growing team, we will keep our technology on its steady path, making an international success of it in the exciting years that lay ahead of us”.

In the press:

Times of Malta | Business Today | Who’s Who

eCabs technology Kerstin Rizzo

Women in technology spotlight | Kerstin Rizzo

Head of Programmes at eCabs Technology Division

Technology has been a seed in the eCabs culture since the day it moved its first passenger from point to point. That seed today became a thriving branch. A fully-fledged transport technology division, composed of an exceptional team of technologists who are driving the engines for the internationalisation vision of eCabs. Kerstin Rizzo joined eCabs’ technology team as Head of Programmes a year and a half ago. She explains how fundamental technology has been in the growth achieved by eCabs in the past years. She also describes her role as a professional in a tech company.

“I wanted to become a chemist and had focused most of my studies on research. However, tech always interested me. I recall myself patiently typing code from various games’ magazines onto our ZX Spectrum a few moons ago”, she smiles.

“Eventually I read Chemistry and Computer Studies at University only to realise there were many tech opportunities available. By then, my choice was an obvious one which I never regretted.”

After 15 years as a systems’ analyst and a software developer, Kerstin spent another 10 years in management, leading several high-profile projects.  She then joined eCabs to realise she had just walked into an immensely disruptive and innovative culture.

“I must admit that I had my reservations. I wondered what my interactions would be like in a company which I thought would have a relatively heavier male presence. Only to find out that the workplace is also highly populated by fellow ladies. I had joined a company whose priorities are focused on innovation and a relentless pursuit for excellence. The vision is an ambitious one and it’s what makes the environment so inspiring to work in. ”

A robust technology infrastructure

Technology remains fundamental in eCabs’ growth journey. As the organisation keeps investing heavily in this area, it bids to consistently improve its efficiencies in operations. Thus it ensures a seamless service delivery to its clients. It also brings about the ability to quickly adapt to unpredictable scenarios such Covid-19.

“Our technology also takes into consideration our growing driver base. Coordination of all the trips, tracking and timely pick-ups all depend on a robust technology infrastructure. This also enables us to lay out our long-term vision for the organisation. eCabs’ primary strategic goal is to internationalise its product portfolio. It is in the process of transforming its current technology to a cloud-based solution.

“One of the aspects that makes working at eCabs a unique proposition is the fact that we are a company intent on bringing a drastic shift in the country’s mobility patterns. Mobility remains a big challenge for Malta with a very particular and complex infrastructure. I am thrilled to be working on such challenges at a company with a vision of bringing a positive change in this aspect.

Being the only mobility company in Malta adopting an all-inclusive multi-booking channel model through the app, phone, web, social media and email, eCabs has made its service accessible to all to ensure mobility for everyone.”  

eCabs technology

New exciting challenges for eCabs technology

In a world driven by data, new exciting challenges emerge to harness that power and make good use of it. “As our service grows, our models are increasingly helping us predict traffic patterns and trends. This allows us to keep offering a reliable service within the shortest time possible and at competitive prices. With aspirations of product development into the ‘Last Mile’ delivery segment my role becomes more fun and challenging as I help to translate these innovative business requirements into IT deliverables, which will essentially see customers and their parcels reaching their destinations in a quicker, smoother and more efficient manner.”

Agility in adapting is also an essential attribute as external factors can very quickly change the priorities. Covid-19 is a perfect case in point as Kerstin points out: “The surreal scenario that hit us in March 2020 had instantly shifted the priorities. But we are an amazing team and we managed to pull this through together, matching the speed and change in direction”.

The future is female

Turning back to the topic of women and IT, Kerstin is proud as a woman not only in an IT environment but also at a tech mobility company. But she also quickly admits that STEM subjects remain male dominated, and augurs that the future will see more women choosing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. 

“The fact that I made it means that change is indeed possible,” she quips enthusiastically. “But this change needs to start from the very bottom, tackled from as early as kindergarten. There are plenty of innovative educational programs and science challenges that school children should be introduced and exposed to. It would help encourage a larger cohort of young women to take up tech-related jobs by also promoting women in these fields to serve as role models”. 

Kerstin is interested and fascinated by astronomy. Her first inspiration as a young girl was Katherine Johnson, the famed mathematician who was instrumental in Nasa’s first manned space flights. Famed by the recent Hollywood movie Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson carved her place in the history books. Kerstin says that there is no reason not to dream big and go for the achievement. “We’re only scratching the surface of possibilities here and that is what I love about this subject and this company. The future is bright – even in the face of the battles we face today.”

In the press:

Business Today