Merida, Yucatan — At the tender age of 18, two Yucatecans are giving Uber a run for its money.
Their ride-share app, called Chuber, doesn’t hail a four-door sedan, however. It sends a three-wheeled mototaxi.
The two young entrepreneurs work in Col. Azcorra, but their target market is outside of Merida, where mototaxis are a common and economical way to get around.
José Cetz and Rair Aké are working with motorcycle taxi drivers to respond to passengers using the app. They’re also campaigning to get potential passengers to download the app.
For now, it’s available only on Android systems, and has drivers in Uman, Tixcocob and Hunucma. Chuber employees were also recently spotted in Celestun’s main square promoting the platform.
They said they plan expansions in Tetiz, Cuzama, Acanceh and Tecoh.
The ubiquitous mototaxi comes in various designs and styles, but basically a motorcycle with three wheels and a roof. They are popular for short trips in countries from Thailand to Peru.
The mototaxi system is informal and finding one quickly can be iffy, despite some areas being overrun with them. José and Rair, both engineering students, saw an opportunity in the situation.
The Chuber business model is a little different than Uber’s. Drivers pay a flat 10 pesos per day to access the app. Payment is still in cash, and rates for passengers depend on the municipality.
The pair has 2,000 Facebook likes and the app been downloaded more than 1,000 times on Google Play, where its 52 user ratings average 2.7 out of five stars, indicating room for improvement when version 2.0 comes out.