Former asylum seeker sets up alternative to Uber in Zurich

Former asylum seeker sets up alternative to Uber in Zurich
Photo: Zahangir Alam
A migrant from Bangladesh has set up a new ride-sharing service in Zurich that aims to rival Uber and conventional taxi companies.

The Your-Taxi car-sharing app launched in Switzerland’s biggest city in July and there are plans to extend the service to Basel and Lausanne, according to a company news release.

Zahangir Alam, who came to Switzerland as a political asylum seeker 16 years ago, hopes to shake up the taxi market in Zurich and offer a “fair alternative”.

Now 37-years-old, he has acquired Swiss citizenship.

“Switzerland gave me a chance and now I want to give something back,” said Alam, who started out as a humble dishwasher before working as a chef and finally a taxi driver.

The price of a journey is set at the start, so customers know exactly what to expect. The company says it can manage this because it only has IT costs to cover.

Alam employs 70 drivers and operates a fleet of vehicles in the budget, business and comfort classes.

Unlike low-cost US firm Uber, Your-Taxi will pay company taxes and social security contributions in Switzerland.

Uber, which is mostly taxed in the Netherlands, has been criticized for making money at the expense of its drivers. Alam’s drivers pay him ten percent commission on their earnings but no additional fees.