KABU: Canada’s ride-hailing App

Health benefits and industry-low commissions make contractors TRUE DRIVING PARTNERS

KABU-Ride Inc. is hoping to become the first choice among British Columbia residents turning to ride-hailing to solve their transportation challenges.

As a made-in-Canada success story, KABU has come a long way since 2016, when co-founders Billy Xiong and Austin Zhang were post-secondary students armed with a great idea and fuelled by the passion and energy of young entrepreneurs.

Today, KABU is headquartered in Richmond, and has 60 full-time and 20 part-time staff, and a business strategy that puts its independent contractors into the driver’s seat.

KABU plans to become the first company in North America to provide its drivers with subsidized health/dental/disability/illness benefits, along with a $250,000 life insurance policy, courtesy a partnership with The Co-Operators Insurance.

Perhaps most important to drivers is how KABU plans to help them earn more and spend less.

KABU will charge drivers an industry-low commission rate, that’s as little as half of what the biggest players in the ride-hailing sector currently charge drivers. According to Jalopnik.com, the two biggest ride-hailing companies in North America charge drivers an average commission rate of between 30 and 35% and sometimes much more.

KABU’s low commission rate reflects the company’s awareness and recognition of the time, effort and resources that ride-hailing drivers bring to the ride-hailing sector.

To reduce the cost of vehicle operations and maintenance, KABU is partnering with other Canadian businesses such as Telus and Petro-Canada and is launching a pilot program with car-rental giant Hertz that will help new immigrants with no credit or job history to more easily obtain an income-generating vehicle.

“Our drivers are our true partners,” said KABU president Billy Xiong. “Without them, we couldn’t provide this critical service to the Canadian public.”

Accessing affordable, reliable and safe transportation to and from work and school is often a challenge in the Lower Mainland, and KABU aims to become part of the solution, he said.

Another feature that sets KABU apart from its competitors is its focus on helping customers to Travel Like a Local, no matter where they come from.

Tourists from Asia can request drivers who speak Mandarin, Cantonese or Korean, as well as English, of course. Eventually, as new drivers join the KABU team, their individual language skills will be added to the App and give customers an even wider selection to choose from.

KABU’s App functions in such a way that it doesn’t need to be downloaded.

It’s designed to be dove-tailed into other Apps, which is the case for members of the Chinese community, who are able to access KABU’s services via the Chinese social media platform WeChat.

If the Passenger Transportation Board grants KABU a ride-hailing license, plans call for the availability of Apple and Android versions of the App.

KABU is currently negotiating with a number of other potential business partners who can add value to the App for both drivers and riders.

Thanks to a partnership with Richmond-based PressReader—which provides its customers with complete access to more than 1,000 newspapers and magazines from across the globe—drivers will receive the added benefit of accessing international news sources, perhaps even from their hometown or home country.

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