Yes!Cab, the latest innovation to be introduced to the St Andrews’ community, is an exciting new initiative, begun by two of the university’s very own students. Founded by Daniel Malikzade-Afshar and Murad Abdulla, Yes!Cab is a service that combines the concepts that have ensured the success of Uber with traditional taxi services and intends to provide “safe, convenient and luxurious” transportation at an affordable price. The Saint sat down with Malikzade-Afshar and Abdulla to discuss what brought them together to work on this venture, and the inspirations and goals behind Yes!Cab.
Malikzade-Afshar, one of the founders, is a second-year theoretical physicist who hails from Essex. Previously an avid rower, boxer and volleyball player, he has secured a prestigious IB summer internship at Deutsche Bank this year. No stranger to hard work, Malikzade-Afshar narrated the “positive mindset” that guided him through being on the “brink of permanent expulsion” in his final year at school to achieving excellent grades amongst his peers. This has been translated and applied to his role as director of Yes!Cab as he aims to modernise the taxi industry and lead it into the 21st Century. In this way, he can address some of the key concerns that have caused the decline of the taxi industry and combat the competition offered by services such as Uber to ensure that the industry does not fade into oblivion.
Abdulla, the brains behind the tech side of Yes!Cab, grew up not too far from St Andrews, in Aberdeen, although he is a native of Azerbaijan. A fresher studying data science and a highly successful double chess champion, Abdulla participates in the SUMS Mathematical Society as well as working towards founding the Azerbaijani society on campus. He works with Malikzade-Afshar to sort out the technicalities and technological requirements of producing an app that allows customers to book a taxi with a click of a button.
Growing up near London, Malikzade-Afshar enjoyed exposure to the various entrepreneurial opportunities, inspiring his passion and interest in crafting his own business. Coming to Scotland to pursue higher education, Malikzade-Afshar found that while similar opportunities existed, these were “less visible”. Undeterred, he was determined to find his gap in the market. Discussions with peers and friends about the disruptions faced by established industries, as well as his own father’s experiences as a taxi driver, were a source of great inspiration for Malikzade-Afshar. Witnessing and experiencing first-hand how the spread of technology and the introduction of services such as Uber impacted his father’s earnings offered more than just simple financial incentives for creating Yes!Cab. Through the app, Malikzade-Afshar has found a way to “support drivers who often do not have a loud enough voice to be heard.”
In his mission of protecting the jobs and livelihoods of local taxi drivers, Malikzade-Afshar has spoken to drivers about their concerns and struggles, as well as features that would make a successful taxi booking app, in order to facilitate their business. In order to carry out further research and the processes of planning a business, as well as creating the app itself, Abdulla joined the team to share his tech knowledge and expertise.
The Scottish-based company offers one of the “fastest and most convenient taxi booking platforms” in the industry. As well as receiving safe, affordable and convenient transport by licensed drivers, customers can get accurate information about taxi’s location, carpool to get cheaper fares, choose from a range of vehicles (from ‘classic,’ ‘XL’ or ‘Pro’), and also rate their ride.
The safety of St Andrews’ citizens is paramount to Malikzade-Afshar and Abdulla, who have ensured that the drivers are fully licensed by the Fife Council and have passed all necessary background checks. Customers can confidently travel around town at any time of the day fully, stress-free. This is particularly important for students, worried about getting home late after a night out, who can be rest assured that they will be safely dropped off at their front door.
Currently in talks with the Union, Malikzade-Afshar and Abdulla are looking to launch a credit scheme whereby, if Union staff deem a student to be in an exceptionally inebriated state during a night out and their safety is in danger, they can book a Yes!Cab for them at no cost to the student. The Union staff would receive credit from the Yes!Cab team on their app which they can use to transfer to the taxi driver in order to take the student home safely. This unique feature demonstrates Malikzade-Afshar and Abdulla’s commitment to ensuring the safety of their peers as well as the uniqueness and innovativeness of Yes!Cab. It is clear that the app will continue developing, offering unparalleled services to customers.
Just starting out, Yes!Cab is busy building connections and relationships in the St Andrews community. At the same time, they empower taxi drivers, forming personal relationships with them and introducing “21st Century technological advancements”, such as the platform of an app, into their business model to modernise the industry. Customers can enjoy “cheap and affordable” means of transportation that promises to be of a high standard. St Andrews’ residents can also look forward to greater connections between neighbouring cities, such as Dundee and Edinburgh, in the near future as part of Malikzade-Afshar and Abdulla’s plans for expansion. Throughout this process, the duo will ensure that they retain their “unique style” and eagerness to say Yes!’ to every challenge they encounter.
Follow Yes!Cab on Facebook (@YesCabUK) and download the app on Google Play or App Store for iOS to book your ride today!