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Taxi wars

Yassir is Algeria’s answer to Uber

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Algeria’s Yassir is a new taxi hailing app set to allow users to hail cab drivers near them directly quickly and cheaply.

Developed by engineer and former Intel Corporation researcher Noureddine Tayebi, Yassir will be first launched in El Biar, Benaknoun, Cheraga, Dely Ibrahim, Ouled Fayet, Birmourad Rais, Mohamadia, Bab Ezzouar, Dar El Beida and Bordj El Kiffan then expanded to other communes later.

We are yet to get to the reason why Tayebi decided to launch Yassir but we think some of the reasons that make Uber unfavourable in other markets such as pricing, wait time and driver requirements are what could have moved the entrepreneur to get his hands dirty to launch his own company.

Yassir is looking for drivers with cars registered after 2007 and staying in the ten districts he is targeting. His success will depend on the reduced wait times, the cost of a ride, the condition of the cars and the attitude to driver partners. But Yassir shouldn’t struggle as Algeria like most of its neighbors have huge urban populations that require on-demand public transport from meeting to meeting instead of using their cars.

The more a country shares its cars the less carbon emitted to the environment and the healthy will be our people too. The government spends less every time there are few people falling sick and staying in hospital instead of working.

 

“YASSIR is the new chauffeured car rental service that will allow you, your future partner, to receive on your smartphone requests for transport of several customers nearby. YASSIR tells you the places of departure and destination. It tells you the price of the service. It provides you with the shortest and least congested path,” the firm announced.

Those interested can register here: https://goo.gl/kyva60or email [email protected]
Mob:
+213 671 337 753
+213 671 337 752

 

Uber’s entry-level luxury service UberSELECT launches in Kenya

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Uber’s entry-level luxury service UberSELECT will be launched in Kenya from tomorrow Oct 5th 2017 to offer riders an alternative to ride during special occasions.

UberSELECT is promising pre-selected vehicles combined with highly rated drivers to offer riders a great experience on their trips. UberSELECT will be available to all riders in Nairobi and won’t affect the existing UberX, which is good for day-to-day trips and errands.

While in other markets Uber users cars brands like BMW, Mercededs, Audi etc for its UberSELECT services, it’s highly unlikely in Kenya though people should expect some high-end cars for their special occasions. Uber in March this year killed its UberSELECT service in Nigeria to pave way for UberX, in Kenya, Uber opened up its doors for as many UberX drivers as possible to quell friction and strikes from disgruntled drivers and competition.

It would be so interesting to see how the two services survive side by side in the local market. UberSELECT will have a base fare of KES100; KES 43 per KM; KES 4 per min; minimum fare of KES 300 and a cancellation fee of KES 200.

The launch of UberSELECT comes right after the company announced a vehicle solutions programme with Stanbic Bank that gave drivers access to vehicle financing. The programme aims at enabling driver-partners to become business owners while encouraging them to pick new fuel efficient vehicles some of which can qualify for UberSELECT. Some existing driver-partners can now drive on UberSELECT, in addition to the product being available for all riders in Nairobi.

 

 

Uber hits four years in Sub-Saharan Africa with 1.8 million riders & 29,000 drivers

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Since its launch in September in Sub-Saharan Africa, Uber has signed up 1.8 million active riders and 29,000 active driver-partners with South Africa leading the pack with 969 000 active riders and 12 000 active drivers while Nigeria comes in second with 267 000 active riders and 7 000 active drivers.

Sub-Saharan Africa doesn’t include North African countries like Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Ghana has 140 000 active riders and 3 000 active drivers, Kenya: has 363 000 active riders and 5 000 active drivers while Uganda has 48 000 active riders and 1 000 active drivers compared to Tanzania’s 53 000 active riders and 1 000 active drivers.

“Currently we have more than 29,000 driver-partners taking advantage of Uber’s earning opportunities. Drivers love being as flexible as they like; earning what they want, when they want, whether it’s a full-time entrepreneur or someone looking to supplement their income,” says Uber General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits.

Uber continues to open support hubs across the continent to ensure driver-partners are well-equipped. Apart from existing hubs across the continent, three more of these state-of-the-art Greenlight Hubs were opened in Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Kampala, Kumasi and Lagos this year and, in addition to offering driver-partners technical and app support, Uber also offers information sessions and workshops to driver-partners. 

Uber has just launched Uber Movement in Johannesburg, a new website to help urban planners, city leaders, third parties and the public better understand the transportation needs of their cities,

Lits added, “four years have gone by incredibly quickly. We’ve learnt and grown; we look back at our time in sub-Saharan Africa with pride because we’ve achieved so much and look forward to what’s next to come.”, 

 

Uber & Little killer Moovn eyes Kenya & South Africa after Tanzania launch

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Founded by Tanzanian-American Godwin Gabriel, Moovn is a black-owned international ride hailing platform taking on Uber, Lyft and Didi in the US, UAE and across Africa.

Moovn, which launched in Tanzania last year recently partnered with Vodacom on data and payments as it mulls expansion into Kenya and South Africa to fulfill its mission to become a dominant global ride hailing player since its launch in 2015 in Seattle. In Kenya, Moovn will take on Safaricom-backed Little, Taxify,  Mondo Rides and MaraMoja.

Moovn which is in 35 cities in North America is projecting to be in a total of 105 cities by the beginning of 2018 allowing users to pre-schedule trips up to a month in advance plus ability to allow users hail cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks or tricycles among others.

“Moovn is an application that enables you to book an exclusive driver on demand or in advance. Our application or web-based booking platform enables you to easily request a ride at the comfort of your desktop, tablet or mobile phone,” says the firm.

The app lets users pay for services using cash, mobile money or credit cards and is live in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Vancouver, Washington, Dar-Es-Salaam and is set to launch in Dubai, Johannesburg and Nairobi.

The app charges drivers a flat commission per ride and has no surge pricing regardless of the demand or supply.

Uber Kenya plots to double its fleet with a new driver loans deal with Stanbic bank

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Uber in Kenya and Stanbic Bank have launched a loans deal that aims to help driver-partners currently driving someone else’s (fleet owners) to buy their own vehicles in a move expected to double its fleet and reduce the wait time for passengers.

The financing programme dubbed the Vehicle Solutions Programme will see employed Uber drivers with a rating of 4.6 and above borrow loans worth up to KES 1,000,000. The financing is rated at 14% with a maximum repayment period of up to 36 Months. With more vehicles on the road Uber rides will be cheaper. There will also be few strikes as most drivers would be working towards their loan repayments.

According to Uber’s General Manager Loic Amado, “At Uber, we are constantly providing opportunities for driver-partners in Kenya. This is why we continue to economically empower our partners through Vehicle Solutions Programs such as this to ensure drivers start their own businesses so that they can make the most when driving with Uber.”

The partnership between Uber and Stanbic Bank is redefining the structure of lending in Kenya by using Uber rating and earnings over the last three months as criteria for providing hundreds of driver-partners access with financing.

Uber has so far enabled about 150 drivers buy their own vehicles and become owners of their businesses through a partnership with Sidian Bank last year. The company, in November last year, also partnered with Branch, a mobile lending company, to provide drivers under fleet owners who had acquired their own vehicles, with a starter loan of KES 30,000 to help them pay for their business permits, NTSA stickers and buy new phones and a data plan.

Stanbic Bank Head of Business Banking, Ben Wandawanda noted that this partnership is well aligned to the lender’s mandate to support entrepreneurs to flourish in their businesses.

“To make this unique opportunity as widely available as possible, the qualifying criteria for the finance is focused on the applicant’s proven Uber experience rather than his or her credit history,” Mr Jones explains, “and the primary qualifying requirement is driver’s earnings over last 3 months of KES 300,000 and an Uber rating of 4.6 or higher. We expect speedy uptake of this financing package, with the entrenchment of Uber’s services in Kenya” he added.

Uber and Stanbic also aim to financially upskilling the drivers to build their own businesses. Uber earlier this year partnered with Old Mutual to provide driver-partners with free money management workshops, so that they can understand basic money principles, develop healthy savings habits and plan a path to financial well-being.

 

 

Taxi hailing app Little launches Little Wallet months after investing into restaurant platform EatOut

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In May, Craft Silicon invested $500K into restaurant discovery platform EatOut to launch a mobile wallet for food lovers. Today the firm unveiled Little Wallet for passengers using Little taxi cabs to load money and save their time and earn discounts in the process. This was earlier known as Little Life.

With the wallet, Little will be improving its customer experience through a simplified checkout process and building customer loyalty. The wallet will also give the firm money to expand, give loans to its driver partners as well embark on product development minus using its own money. It’s technically flexible hedging for the firm.

With a faster checkout process, passengers are more likely to come back hence leading to more rides for the drivers and more revenue for them. The Wallet will also allow Little to expand beyond mobile phones as the wallets can loaded and checked out using a desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, good for shared family or corporate accounts.

The Little Wallet will also allow customers to keep all their Little financial information in one place securely with ability to load their wallets using M-PESA, credit or debit card among others and customers can check out anywhere and anytime and on any device. The Little Wallet also comes with  a 10% bonus for any amount a user deposits. So if a passenger loads 5,000, they get 5,250 as their balance. 50,000 will give one a whopping 55,000, that’s 5,000 free cash.

Little Wallet makes payments hassle free at the end of a passengers ride and also makes it possible to send trip credits to friends and family. Customers load their Little Wallet via MPESA Paybill 309999.

 

Uber rolls-out feature allowing in-app chats, to roll out tips and charge passengers who keep them waiting soon

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Uber Kenya has announced a new feature “In-App chat” that allows drivers and riders to chat from the app free of charge as it announced a new feature to allow drivers receive tips and charge for waiting time in some markets in the US and Europe.

Initially, riders and drivers could communicate via Short Message Services (SMS) or through telephone calls. The In- App chat will be cheaper for both riders and drivers enabling them to communicate easily and faster without toggling between Uber and their cell phone applications. .

This enhancement is part of Ubers’ continuous efforts to enhance the experience of riders and drivers  while using the  Uber app.

The new feature works fairly easy. When a rider books a ride, there is a ‘contact’ button on the pull-up menu at the bottom of the screen. Riders are then able to initiate a chat with the driver and vice versa, the messages will show a read receipt for the sent messages.

On the other hand, drivers can acknowledge receipt with one tap to their app to send a ‘thumbs up’. That way, they can stay focused on the road. Both riders and drivers will see if their chats are delivered and read.

Uber General Manager East Africa Mr. Loic Amado said, “Every great ride starts with the pickup, so we’re always thinking about ways to make the pickup experience as frictionless as possible for riders and drivers alike. In-App chat will help riders and drivers easily connect should they need to get in touch with one another to solve for things like road closures, or to just provide information on their exact location.”

Additionally the new in-app feature provides an alternative to calling for riders and drivers, should they want to get in touch. However for one to access this feature, one has to have the latest version of the app to use.

“This is our first step towards leveraging real-time-messaging to enable seamless communication experiences for our customers and help them connect in both the digital and physical worlds” concluded Loic.

Taxify gives passengers 50% off rides on election day

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Didi Chuxing-backed Taxify is running a 50% off promotion tomorrow to encourage Kenyans to go out and vote by charging riders 50% less they take on election day.
“While running this promotion, we’ll be compensating our drivers with bonuses, to compensate the difference,” announced the firm. “Our focus is to provide drivers with better revenue per ride and keeping them happy with earnings and support we provide, which leads to ultimately better service for clients. Both sides win with Taxify.

Didi Chuxing is China’s leading mobile transportation platform and recently announced it had invested an undisclosed amount in Taxify in Europe and Africa to help it expand its web of influence across the continent. Didi brings on board AI technologies and an extensive range of mobility services, including Taxi, Premier, Express, Luxe, Hitch, etc., to over 400 million users in more than 400 cities. In addition to creating over 17 million flexible work and income opportunities for its driver-partners, Didi leverages its AI capabilities to help cities develop integrated and sustainable smart transportation solutions.

 

The discount will help the firm sign up new customers and possibly retain them. Taxify’s competitor Uber recently announced it will ferry Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) to and from their respective polling stations in Nairobi, Thika and Mombasa on August 8, 2017, free of charge.

New and existing riders will get a KSh 200 discount to and from their polling stations on voting day in the cities that it is currently present in Kenya. These offers will apply between 6am and 6pm on Tuesday, 8 August 2017. All new and existing Uber riders will be required to request an Uber ride, go to the promotions tab in the app enter the promo code VOTEKE2017 in the app’s promotion tab in order to enjoy the offer.

“Uber celebrates the cities we serve and one of the best ways to engage with our communities is to encourage riders and driver-partners to vote and we shall do this by providing information on the voting process and discounted rides for all riders in Nairobi, Thika and Mombasa” said General Manager for Uber in East Africa Loïc Amado, when he announced the partnership.

Uber has also set up an in-app notification reminding citizens to vote. On voting day, thousands of users of the Uber App in Nairobi, Thika and Mombasa will also receive a message reminding them to vote with a link to the IEBC site to help them find their polling station.

After elections Taxify will run Tuesday Taxify, a new category will appear in the app giving each customer a 50% discount on every ride on every Tuesday.

Here’s how it looks in the app:

Inline image 1 Inline image 2

A glimpse into the Free Digital Literacy Course for Children of Little Drivers

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Little in conjunction with Craft Silicon Foundation recently launched a free Digital Literacy Program for Children of Little drivers. Here are the highlights of the program,

 

  • It is a four weekends exclusive crash program targeting children aged between 7 – 13 years.

 

  • The weekly batched sessions are planned for 4 hours, which intend to equip the Little Drivers’ children with relevant and practical ICT skills that will nurture technological competence as they grow up.

 

  • The Program dubbed “Smart Little Kids of Smart Little Drivers” will be conducted on Sundays at Craft Silicon Foundation ICT Centre.

 

  • The Digital Literacy program for little Kids will ensure that innovation is nurtured from an early stage, developing a generation for a smart future.

 

  • This is a loyalty program, for committed little drivers. The program is targeting over 1000 children of little drivers. Free Digital Literacy program is a flagship project under Craft Silicon Foundation – a corporate social responsibility initiative of Craft Silicon Limited.

 

  • The foundation uses solar powered mobile computer bus that ensures computer education reaches out to everyone at their door step in an environmental friendly and sustainable manner.“This is one of the value additions that Little is offering to its drivers and their families,” says Little and Craft silicon Foundation CEO Mrs. Priya Budhabbahatti. Although our focus is on improving Little customers’ experience, we also feel the need to empower our drivers both on economic and social grounds. And this is going to be the iota of the things to follow. We are already in discussions with various other organizations with similar beneficial programs to our drivers said Mrs. Priya.

 

 

 

This is a new benefit added to the kitties of the Little Drivers who are already enjoying various incentives from Little.

 

Little, Africa’s first mobile app for transportation, integrates city transportation for customers and driver partners onto a mobile technology platform.

 

 

Little also offer its services to the non-smartphone users in the country through its USSD solution – *826#. Using the mobile app, users across Kenya can conveniently book from thousands of our professional pool of drivers.

 

 

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Uber allows users to request a ride for someone else, starts driver face recognition for passenger safety

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Uber has unveiled a new feature to allow users to hail a cab for other people or friend or a family whether they have the Uber app or don’t as long as they are in your list of contacts.

On request, the feature allows you to select yourself or another person as a passenger and the passenger is notified via SMS about the trip details,  a link to track how far the driver is and a phone number to call him. At the end of the ride, you can pay by card or M-Pesa or let the passenger pay in cash. This new feature is expected to increase the number of rides and provide reliable transportation to more people across the world.

The firm has also launched a new intelligent new safety feature dubbed Real-Time ID to improve safety for drivers and riders using the app.

With the new feature, drivers are periodically prompted to share a selfie before going online, Uber then compares this photo to the one corresponding to the account on file to validate the driver before they start driving.

Real-Time ID works by prompting drivers using the app to share a selfie from time to time before going online. This verification is achieved through advanced facial recognition technology and takes place within a few seconds. If the two images don’t match, the account is temporarily blocked while Uber looks into the situation. This helps Uber to ensure in real time that the driver using the app matches the account it has on file.

The feature is not rocket science but an update after software and device firms launched voice, facial and gesture recognition. These will ensure that the driver who is picking you up is really the one who is registered.

Currently, this feature is being rolled-out to drivers in Kenya in phases so not all drivers will see this feature right away.  Alongside Kenya, Real-Time ID has also been rolled out in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana this follows a global roll out that was launched in the US.

Uber launches an UberPOOL feature in Africa to help drivers pick passengers heading the same direction

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Uber has launched an UberPOOL feature in major markets in Africa dubbed as ‘Driver Destinations’ to help driver-partners automatically link to riders/trips headed in the same direction at the beginning and end of their working day. This will allow driver-partners to continue earning even while on their way home and begin earning earlier as they head out of home.

The ‘Driver Destinations’ feature which works like Nigeria’s ‘GoMyWay‘ will allow driver-partners to set their destination twice a day when they want to be matched only with riders or passengers traveling in a similar direction The new feature has been rolled out as an option to all drivers across Africa.

To access the feature, drivers need to be logged into their driver application, tap the clipboard icon on the top right corner of the app and either select a saved location or search for a new address. Once they start driving toward the destination, Uber will automatically filter requests for trips along the way.

Using this great new feature, driver-partners can continue earning even while they are on their way into the city from home and on their way home. This brings Uber one step closer to realizing its goal as a company, which is to get more people into less cars thereby increasing economic opportunities for its driver-partners and ultimately reducing congestion on roads.

Although the new feature is currently included in the UberX service which is the version of Uber used in Africa, this is the first step towards a stand-alone model that Uber runs in other markets ‘UberPOOL’ – a service that ensures that passengers travelling on the same route can share a ride and pay less than a standard UberX fare. UberPOOL, which is available in 32 cities across the world, accounts for 20% of Uber trips in those cities.

 

Uber to compensate Lagos drivers if they miss revenue targets during price cut experiment

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Uber recently cut its UberX prices by up to 40% in Lagos, Nigeria, creating concern amongst driver-partners across Lagos, many of whom worried that this would mean loss of earnings, just two after a similar contest with Uber driver-partners in Kenya and India.

Compensation

However, according to Uber, it will ensure drivers do not lose out on earnings during the early stages of this price cut.

“We have promised to ‘top up’ their fares. For example, this guarantee ensures the driver does not lose out while we see how the price cut work. Top ups will be paid out at the end of the week. It’s that simple,” said the firm in a statement to TechMoran. The compensation covers the drivers in case of a drop in income. The price cuts are expected stimulate business for driver-partners like they did in Kenya before Uber gave in to driver demands.

There have been reports that Uber charges a 15 percent commission for drivers in some markets like India and a quick Google search shows this could be true and can also disputed. But regardless of what Uber charges in other markets, the commissions will always be there.

Been doing this for years

This is not the first time Uber has reduced fares, in 2015, it implemented the temporary price cuts which it says was a success. These cuts had resulted in an improvement in the volume of rides requested on the Uber ­app. In Kenya, the price cut reportedly gave drivers 70 percent more trips until the competition hired goons to demonstrate against the price cut, turned ugly and forced Uber to increase the prices.

Uber says it gave its driver-partners more than 24hours notice about the price cut and held dedicated workshops and focus groups on ensuring drivers understand the temporary earning guarantees it had put in place. And the good news is that the price cuts are not permanent.

Price cuts not permanent

“These lower prices are not always permanent and we’ve promised that we will monitor partner economics on a daily basis as well as host a once weekly focus group for driver-partners to attend should they have any questions about this fare reduction. In the unlikely event that the lower prices don’t result in driver-partners making the same or more, we will rethink the fare reductions.” the firm promised.

 

Uber launches low cost product with older cars in renewed battle for the Kenyan market

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Uber wants you to use Uber regardless of the model of the car and the year it was registered because if you use Uber you will be building Uber whether you use UberK (pun intended) or Uberx.

In Cairo, Uber has both a premium and an economy product – UberSELECT and uberX but in Kenya where price not comfort matters most, Uber is not launching UberSELECT but going lower on quality and year of manufacturer of the car so that it gains market share and probably outdo its competition with a yet to be named low-cost product which will have cars manufactured as early as 2008.

To make it worse Uber has a bribe-sort incentive of Ksh 3000 to encourage users to sign up day and night so that it hits its target number fast. These will mean Uber will have more cars on the road, and with some network effect, more passengers and a liquid bank account. These move will weaken Uber’s own UberX and have a disastrous effect on Little, Taxify, Mondo, Dandia among others. With the dead of UberX, all cabs on the road will be UberK (UberKenya) due to its friendly price for passengers and many trips for the driver-partners.

The firm announced in a statement, “We are launching a new, low cost product in Nairobi. The new product is designed to be cheaper for riders and more affordable for partners. This will be a new, separate product and is not the same as the uberX product that we currently have. Both products will exist side by side. Each product will have a different price and different requirements.”

Uber added that it will now only accept cars to sign up for the low cost product only and is not accepting cars for uberX at the moment. The firm is offering KES 3,000 as an incentive for a limited time only after the car takes 20 trips on the new product alone. The only problem is that existing uberX partners can have cars on both products.

Though ALL types of cars are welcome to join Uber’s low cost product, the firm is recommending low cost, fuel efficient cars for example Toyota Vitz with 800 – 1200 CC car models, an NTSA inspection and sticker, PSV insurance and copy of logbook for the car while for the driver-partners a National ID, PSV License, a regular Driving License and a background check through one of its recommended vendors.

Why is Uber doing this?

One factor which economists say is the biggest is for Uber to disrupt itself and outdo its competition. With new prices, UberX failed to compete as it was the most expensive service compared to Safaricom-backed Little, Taxify and Mondo. With Uber drivers charging through the roof getting passengers was harder and time wasting not because of competition but UberX had so many drivers and it was charging exorbitantly. These made the whole thing unprofitable.

“It’s no longer profitable driving with Uber,” one driver-partner told TechMoran. “Uber Nairobi added more vehicles onto the platform and the wait-time is so long that I can wait for four hours before I get my second passenger. The latest price increase made UberX the most expensive service compared to our competition hence less passengers have been coming to our platform. I’m forced to work more times to earn a quarter what I used to earn when UberX was still new in the country. Those people who were striking were not Uber drivers and they have the last laugh now.”

Another driver-partner who asked for anonymity said there was no significant difference in revenues after a recent price hike claiming Uber driver-partners are struggling to make ends meet and the firm is losing more cars to the competition hence the low cost option is a win-win and makes a lot of sense. He added that the timing is perfect to help the firm and its driver-partners to earn a return on their investments.

The move by Uber to lower its standards to accommodate more cars on the new low-cost service will take Uber back to where it used to be in terms of traffic after its 35 percent price cut. and even at a better position in terms of revenues, traffic and driver-partner satisfaction. Uber has an exact number of cars it’s looking for and when it hits that number on the road, it will close both programs and let price drive traffic to its new low-cost service until every one in Kenya is taking an UberK or whatever they will call it.