Taxi Service Apps in Iraq

In 2009, UBER launched an application to allow customers to request a taxi on demand from an app. The application quickly achieved international success, and now operates in many countries around the world, making UBER one of the most successful apps in history.

In the Middle East region, Uber currently operates in Abu Dhabi, Almaty, Amman, Astana, Baku, Beirut, Doha, Jeddah, Manama, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv.

Like any new successful idea, clones soon after appear, and this has been the case for Uber all around the world. In some countries, the reason behind UBER’s limitations is local competition. In Dubai for example, Smart Taxi is also widely used.

UBER is yet to fully crack the Middle East like some other of its more successful regions, however clones of this idea are popping up everywhere. In Iran, the local version Snapp, recently secured a EUR20 million funding from a South African telecoms provider. Uber may not have Iraq on its radar for quite some time, however many local entrepreneurs have created their own versions of taxi service apps. In this report we discuss the current options.

In our research we found around 8 applications online that claimed to provide on-demand taxi services in Iraq. Out of the 8, we were only able to test 3 as the other 5 were not available to download. We couldn’t find out why. The applications we reviewed were:

Smart Taxi, Baghdad

Taxi Hawler, Erbil,

Passenger (Sayaq), Kurdistan

The first thing we noticed about all 3 apps was that they were all similar. We found out all of them were off-the-shelf packages from the same provider, TaxiStartup. TaxiStartup is a provider of taxi app clones at fairly reasonable fees.

We also discovered none of the applications fully work as they should. Smart Taxi and Passenger begin to buffer after the customer chooses the destination, the applications then provide no information on the request. Taxi Hawler is also facing technical difficulties; the application constantly displays ‘service is not available in that area’.

It’s fair to say the market is wide open for a well-managed and supported taxi service app in Iraq and Kurdistan.

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