As Uber prepares for the arrival of Safaricom-backed Littlecabs, existing taxi hailing services in Kenya are positioning themselves for relevance in the impending war.
After introducing a couple of options for users which it thinks would help it better compete with Uber, Mondo Ride is shifting focus to drivers and has offered them a better deal, hoping to steal some Uber drivers. The Romania-founded taxi-hailing service is charging drivers a Sh50 commission per ride booked on its app. Uber on the other hand charges 25 percent of the total cost of the ride.
Mondo Ride had come to Kenya bearing the gift of “allowing its consumers the ability to accept or block drivers based on the details of their profile” and hail both cabs and Motorcycles like MaraMoja Transport. However, despite these offerings Uber has fared better in the East African country.
With the expected launch of Littlecabs in a few weeks, Uber may have its first real rival since it launched in Kenya in 2015. Backed by the country’s largest telecommunications company Safaricom which is behind the world famous MPesa mobile money service, Littlecabs can give Uber a run for its money. In the end, it could be down to who is more innovative and can offer better pricing.
Given the real threat Littlecab would pose, Uber is expected to fast-forward its plans in Kenya, including adding motorcycles to its offerings like it has started in India where it has made its testing ground for services it intends to introduce to emerging markets.
In the midst of the expected Uber/Littlecabs struggle, other taxi hailing services like Mondo Ride would do well to find the gaps left out by the two and fill them, except they are sure of wielding as much influence as the two taxi-hailing services.