BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
DART Logistics will be launching its services soon, after obtaining a green-light from the government to operate its business.
This issue was also raised at the recent Legislative Council meeting, with members expressing hopes that it will really help aid Brunei to progress its economy better.
The Bruneian previously reported on the startup’s plan on revamping Brunei’s public transportation scene with a new alternative – and we had a sit-down with its founder and CEO, Zul’Amali Dato Paduka Haji Idris. Below is the extract of the interview.
TBN: How did you come about with the business model?
DART: The business model is an amalgamation of the best practices gathered from major transportation network companies who have been around for more than 10 years.
These companies include Grabcar, Uber, Gojek – and some others found further across the European continent. We also found some variations to these kinds of services and study them accordingly.
Through the studies, we “tailor” these models to fit into Brunei’s market – combining all aspects of businesses and its socio-economic impacts as well to see what will work best for the country.
TBN: This business model is clearly new to Brunei. How do you make sure it would cater well to the Bruneian market?
DART: Since the service is new here, there is no other way to determine the market, but to work only based on the projected demand.
Every business has its own risks, but I think it is a no-brainer that if the conditions are well-met; if the service is safe, reliable and affordable, there will always be people looking to use it.
As long as there is a need to travel to and fro places, we can always make a fitting to our services. Perhaps going for lunch with co-workers but not wanting to spend much time to find a car park; or to go to congested events where parking spaces are scarce.
There will always be a fitting to be done especially for a startup – and I believe all business can survive if they are flexible, meaning they are willing to make adjustments to cater to the trend and need of the masses.
We don’t have the perfect answer as of yet, but we can definitely collect some results once we launch our service, which can then be “massaged” accordingly to the market. These are all pretty standard, but definitely we can achieve that.
TBN: with the service, people will definitely look at its prices first – how do you fit your rates accordingly to the projected market? How different will it be compared to the rates for taxi services?
DART CEO: Adjustments will be made accordingly so that it’s a win-win situation for us, our drivers and our customers.
Taxis serviced a certain market; and it suits that market well, but we are also looking for a fitting that could make both of us work side by side.
While we have obtained a green light from the government to operate our business, the authorities are also still reviewing and developing our legal and operational frameworks. Anytime soon it will be launched along with the rates.
TBN: That being said, once launched, what are your plans to grow and sustain this business?
DART CEO: We will be flashing out the market the first six months after our launch. We projected that it will be six months to a year before Bruneians can prefer DART cab services as an alternative means of transportation.
Within that period, while building demands for our services, we will also be collecting feedback from users to serve as a guideline for further improvements. We will also be building customers’ trust and build our branding.
TBN: What kind of branding are you looking at?
DART CEO: A cab service that is safe, convenient, reliable and affordable. Every of our drivers are screened and trained, and cars inspected before they can be inducted as a DART driver – and that can contribute to our branding as well.
If you think about it, there are so many multitudes of scenarios for this service to be preferred, some I have mentioned earlier – but we can only project at the moment.
TBN: Any other plans to follow up with the eventual launch?
DART CEO: One of them would be the DART map. With the service, there is an opportunity to develop a more accurate digital map of Brunei. We are working with several departments on this.
At this moment, most people are using Google or Apple maps – they are handy but when it comes to Brunei, at times they display inaccurate addresses.
The DART map will make use of crowd-sourcing in pinpointing the exact locations of businesses and shops, as well as residential areas. For example, you can just mark your house at Simpang 51 at a village and it will appear in our searches.
We are also looking to put up markings for any happenings in the country. It will be there until it expires – so this is one thing we can look at.
The DART map can also help our drivers to promote some of the events and places of interest.
When picking up passengers; drivers can inform them that there is something going on in Jerudong Park or any other places. This helps in drawing more crowds for the events.
So in that sense, we also have a lot of partnership opportunities we can explore.
TBN: Lastly, once launched, what impacts do you think DART cab services have onto the country as a whole?
DART CEO: We have grand ambitions that besides providing an alternative to public transport, we also predict that it will have thousands of job openings.
We are flexible, and we are not restricting any service at the moment. If there is a market for a trend, then we will explore and cater our services accordingly.
If they are demands for courier services, then we will do it; just make sure that our drivers are taken care of.
It took us quite a while to launch; it’s a little bit stricter here but I do feel that this is for the better in the long run. When you have a little bit of a struggle to get there, then there is a value added to it.
The long processes means to ensure better quality to its services, and we are cooperating well with the government on that.
Besides from creating more employment and grooming public transportation, we of course aimed at building a better Brunei.