Saixe!, the young man who left university for the taxi and triumphs on Tiktok: “I aspire to change the image of the sector”

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic changed many people's plans.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
31 March 2024 Sunday 10:34
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Saixe!, the young man who left university for the taxi and triumphs on Tiktok: “I aspire to change the image of the sector”

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic changed many people's plans. Such was the case of Raúl García, better known as Saixe!, the young man who decided to leave university to be a taxi driver, just like his father. However, he goes one step further, by becoming a speaker who uses social networks to spread his profession and highlight the various problems in the sector. Thus, at 22 years old, with a striking tuned taxi that sounds like a car from the future and more than two hundred thousand followers on TikTok, this taxi driver from Carabanchel (Madrid) aspires to reach what he himself defines as “Uber's target audience.” , the youngest; and bring them back to the taxi.

Also, Saixe! has created in collaboration with a great team the TaxiCoin application, which offers a completely personalized service for the user. Presented as “the taxi App that was needed”, it competes against other large platforms such as Uber and Cabify. Thus, between videos of anecdotes with clients and the tuning of his taxi, a Toyota Carolla Sedan, Raúl now tells us what his work is like and how he experiences it on a daily basis.

When did you make the decision to be a taxi driver?

During the pandemic, I became very demotivated with studies. So I started looking for work, but I couldn't find anything; and one day I told my father that he wanted any job where I could drive because that is my moment of 'relaxation', I love driving. He, who is a taxi driver, then told me: “Do you want to drive and work? Well, become a taxi driver, there is room here.” That's how it all started.

Then, it turned out that I really liked the job, I bought my own taxi and that's how I have been to this day.

What advantages and disadvantages do you find in this profession?

It is a very flexible job and, if you like driving and being in front of the public, it is perfect. The only bad thing is that there are quite a few hours and you are very exposed to many things, but you are your own boss.

Something that your taxi has is that it does not easily go unnoticed. How have you tuned it so far?

Well, I changed the wheels and put white letters on the tires, like it was a racing car. This is for Lightning McQueen who, since he was little, has been a reference for me. Even then I was clear that they would be the wheels of my car.

Then, I changed the suspension, lowered it to the ground and put spacers on it so that the wheels were wider, more outward. Additionally, I have included a small black spoiler on the back; and an exhaust sound that is actually a speaker. I can put on the sound I want: that of a Lamborghini, a Ferrari or a Mercedes; and I can even make it sound like a car from the future, an ice cream cart or animal sounds.

Have you ever surprised a passenger by making one of these sounds without warning?

Yes (laughs).

And what reaction have they had?

Well, let's see, I always have the sound turned off because I don't like to give that image. I understand that there are people who may like it and people who don't. So, when someone gets into the taxi and tells me something about the aesthetic modifications it has from the outside, like the wheels, I ask them if they like cars. When they tell me yes, I turn on the sound and they love it.

Is there some type of regulation that sets the guidelines for how far you can go with taxi tuning?

No, although I have had some friction because of it. At that time, I was well informed and had to remove some things, such as a spoiler on the nose and some gray hair, which were like shark gills.

Now everything is fine. I like the condition the car is in and there are no problems.

The good thing about social media is its ability to reach a large number of people. How do you spread the taxi driving profession through them?

I cover a little bit of everything: I tell anecdotes that happen to me in the taxi, I talk about what it is like to be a taxi driver and the problems we have in the sector, such as competition with VTCs (Transportation Vehicles with Drivers).

I have to say that social networks are like a hobby for me, since what feeds me is the taxi, and I use them more as an outlet to transmit the message I have at a certain moment. I'm improvising.

Speaking of VTCs, do you think they are taking up too much ground from taxis?

No, I don't consider it.

And what is this competition like?

The main problem is that they are not regulated and we are. So, we don't want them to liberalize us because this would turn into a jungle, but we do want them to regulate them.

We want the VTCs to have the same working hours as us, to ask drivers for tests, to have a taximeter, to not be able to play with demand or throw prices to the ground. In addition, it must be taken into account that Uber or Cabify applications are not taxed in Spain. Logically, the drivers do, but not the Apps, which provide service here and do not quote in the country.

There are many young people who choose to get around in Uber.

Of course, that is part of my role when tuning the car, making my videos and being young myself: to draw the attention of that youth, which is Uber's target audience, and bring them back to the taxi.

Above all, I aspire to rejuvenate and change the image of the taxi. That is, that taxi driver who drove around, ate in the car and drove it to pieces. This is no longer the case and, in part, I am grateful that VTCs have emerged so that some taxi drivers can change their service a little.

What would you say to someone who is going to take an Uber so that they opt for a taxi instead?

Well look, a taxi driver is a person who has been trained and is not going to leave you stranded. If you book a taxi on any app, it comes; and, in case there is an incident, the company gives you a solution. Furthermore, if you have paid it, you will get your money back.

People usually think that Uber is cheaper because they still charge you 4 or 5 euros, but I have had clients who have told me: “I got an Uber, it didn't arrive, I had to cancel it, they didn't give me my money back and now “I had to take a taxi.”

You have been part of the creation of TaxiCoin, how did this come about?

Well, I recorded myself with a client talking because I thought it was a pretty interesting conversation and I uploaded it to the networks. In the middle of this conversation, I told him that I was going to make my own application because, having so many followers, many of them wrote directly to me so that I could take them in the taxi. There came a time when I couldn't cope anymore because I don't work 24 hours a day, and with this app, if someone was thinking about ordering an Uber, they could order a taxi instead. My colleagues would get that service and I would get a commission.

Then, TaxiCoin contacted me, which is an App that at that time was still being developed and raised the possibility of joining us and doing the project together. In June of last year it came forward.

And what makes it different from other Apps?

In this App you can filter the type of vehicle you want or the need that arises at that moment. For example, you can choose for the driver to speak in German or with a minimum of English because, perhaps, you have arrived at T4 in Madrid from Germany. You can also ask that it has an iPhone or Android charger, that it allows the customer to choose the temperature and music, or that the driver be a man or a woman. This is especially because a woman at night may prefer a driver. In addition, it is the only taxi application in Europe that allows payment in cryptocurrency.