LISTENING to Andrew Witham, security manager at the British High Commission, sing praises to her company 876ONTHEGO during recent celebrations at the University of Technology, Jamaica, founder and Chief Executive Officer Olivia Lindsay beamed with joy hearing her brainchild being referred to as the sole recommendation for British diplomats and visitors seeking transportation.
“We at the high commission took an interest in 876ONTHEGO back in their early days. It is important for us that our guests, diplomats and members of staff are able to transport safely. In my role as security manager, I liked the very fact that when somebody makes a booking with 876ONTHEGO, they see who their driver is, the licence plate, where the vehicle is, and the estimated time. I like that people can share their ride details with somebody else.
“People will send me a message so as security manager I can monitor their movement from their arrival at the airport to their hotel. It has been an interesting journey over five years and the service is outstanding. At the high commission our advice is: ‘No other taxi service is recommended. You take them at your own risk.’ It is our sole recommendation — and we are hoping that in ten years’ time it will remain our sole recommendation,” Witham said.
Throughout the five years of operation, in what she described as a tough transport industry, the CEO said she felt like quitting when struck with insurmountable challenges, but was frequently reminded by those around her that giving up was not an option.
Lindsay has led a promising company of notable achievements. During the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Kingston based 876ONTHEGO opened a second branch in Ocho Rios, St Ann, and around the same time also began offering delivery services. 876ONTHEGO developed a partnership with Cut The Line food delivery services as well as a luxury company to meet the needs of customers who wish to attend special events in style.
The company is currently preparing its books to become listed on the Jamaica Stock exchange and Lindsay also announced that she is expanding the 876ONTHEGO brand in the eastern Caribbean.
“Our eyes are set on St Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the eastern Caribbean. We are expanding our global footprint. We began conversations with potential partners in West Africa and North America during the height of the pandemic and they cannot wait to come on board,” Lindsay shared.
She admited, however, that she has learned that entrepreneurship “is not for the faint at heart”.
“Building a path to success requires not just gifts, but grit and guts as well. There were days when I felt like walking away, thinking the problems would never end. There were the days when I sensed I did something right and impacted lives. If you are building a dream, expect to be criticised and ostracised as you push forward with measured goals. There is no winning without taking losses. When you lead a great team, quitting is not an option,” she said.
Lindsay added that she was pleased that customers have bought into using the 876ONTHEGO mobile application to book trips. Customers who use the application are provided with safety features so they can live-track the vehicle that picked them up, thus enabling them to share the ride link with relatives or a friend.
“Our commuters are able to live-track their car while the car comes to them, get a photo of the driver, and they are also able to retrieve the driver’s telephone number so they can communicate. It was very tough to re-socialise passengers to use our app. At first we had 90 per cent of passengers calling in while only ten per cent used the app. Today, it is the reverse. We have 90 per cent using the app and 10 per cent calling in.”