Competition for Uber Brussels: Heetch is coming back
It was the American taxi service provider, Uber, that opened the Brussels taxi market, but with the comeback of the French Heetch, the American taxi company now is challenged in its turn.
Uber fought for years to conquer its place on the Brussels taxi market. The company succeeded in sailing around the strict regulations and reducing the prices for taxi rides. In the meantime, about 1.800 taxis are driving around in the Belgian capital.
But the company is steadily getting more and more competition from companies with the same business model. One of those companies is the French taxi platform, Heetch.
Heetch is not a newcomer for Brussels. The platform was launched in Brussels in 2016 but was forced to stop its activities by the commercial court because the company only worked with private drivers offering other individuals rides using an app, just like Uber used to do before the service was forbidden.
Heetch aimed at students who wanted to make an additional income as a driver. Thanks to the ‘De Croo’ law, they could even partly do so without paying taxes because the platform had received its legitimization as a shared platform. After the judgment of the court, Heetch had to stop its activities in Brussels.
Meanwhile, Heetch has changed its business model and only employs people with a valid VVB license. “Today, we have about 400 active drivers in Brussels offering about 10.000 rides a month,”, explains Teddy Pellerin, one of the three co-founders of Heetch.
Although still in Uber’s shadow, the French taxi service provider is even gaining popularity, the more because Heetch collects ‘only’ 15% commission of its drivers, while the Uber drivers lose 25%.
In the premium segment, on the contrary, even Uber gets fierce competition from CarAsap, among others, a Brussels platform that also employs drivers with a VVB license. The most significant difference is that they mainly focus on B2B clients, according to CEO Jonathan Guzy. “We’re more expensive than Uber,” the CEO says, “but we guarantee a better quality and higher reliability.” CarAsap has 350 active drivers and belongs for 80% to Lab Box, the start-up of the D’Ieteren automotive group.