As Uber continues to reap ever more funding to expand its on-demand transportation app into more categories and countries, one of its smaller, regional cab-hailing rivals is quietly expanding into its own adjacent services: Gett, the startup with service in 50 cities globally whose app can be used to hail black cabs in London, is today adding a new courier service. For a flat fee of £6 ($8.50), you can have a package of up to 5 kilograms picked up anywhere in central London in 20 minutes, and delivered within an hour by scooter.
For those of you who don’t live in London, a little context: a £6 flat-fee courier service for central London is pretty damn cheap — a discount of some 30% on typical courier services. The service will sit alongside the £10 flat-rate service that Gett offers for black cab rides, also across the middle of town.
Gett Courier is launching at an interesting time for the on-demand transportation market in the UK and Europe. Sources tell us that Chinese transport startup Didi Kuaidi and India’s Ola have been among those eyeing up transportation services in this part of the world as potential investments, or at least as potential partners in a global alliance announced last December in part to better compete with Uber both in seamless global services as well as technology.
Notably, when that partnership — between Didi, Ola, Grab and Lyft — was announced, there was no European partner in the mix. Companies that have been mentioned to us as possible targets include Hailo and Gett.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Gett’s European CEO Remo Gerber would not comment on any future partnerships or investments — the company has raised $220 million to date — unless you count a nervous laugh as a comment.
But he did give us some insight into just what Gett is getting up to with this new service. It turns out that the courier service is more connected than you think: the scooters that will be doing the delivering for Gett are actually trainee black cab drivers, who have to spend a number of months learning London’s complicated tangle of streets, and how to get from one to the other backwards and forwards — a body of study referred to as “The Knowledge.” Trainee black cab drivers do this through programs, using scooters to get around the city.
While they are not paid to ride around for their Knowledge training, Gett realised they they could start working with them early-doors, by paying them to pick up and drop off parcels.
“Its our own network of scooter boys, people who are training to be black cab drivers,” Gerber said. “This way they can continue to train for their knowledge and make some money in the meantime.”
Given that the scooters are driving around regardless of whether they are delivering packages, it’s a clever move by Gett that should mean a quick margin for them on the service — although it seems like only a matter of time before the trainee cabbies decide to raise their rates in order to be available for courier jobs.
For addresses outside Zone 1, Gett says a fixed price gets confirmed in the app when you enter the destination at the time of booking. Gett Courier will be available from 9am to 9pm each day.