About a month ago, Safaricom partnered with local tech firm Craft Silicon in the launching of Little Cab, a taxi hailing service. The service was meant to counter Uber’s growing dominance in the local market Last week, this blog talked of a hitch the company has faced with regards to the name Little Cab. Someone went ahead and registered the name Little Cab as a trademark and now the duo of Craft Silicon and Safaricom cannot trade in that name. The person who registered the Little Cab trademark already went to court to stop Safaricom from trading in that name.
During the launch, one of the big promises by Little was that the company will soon roll-out a feature that allows users to hail a cab via USSD which has been announced today. The feature allows the user to make a request for a ride by simply dialing *826# from their mobile phone. The feature targets users without smartphones besides adding to the convenience. Just last week, rival Uber launched a service that allows users to hail a cab their mobile web browser, which was also targeted at users who cannot access a smartphone.
Little says the App has been downloaded 23,500 times on iOS, Windows and Android stores with the number of drivers at 1,400 (it is stated that most of these were drivers on the defunct Easy Taxi service). Little has been quick to offer incentives to both drivers and users, where drives get a smartphone and 7.5 GB of data to be on the service while Passengers receive airtime worth their ride up to a maximum of 500 shillings upon completion of their first and fifth rides. Other incentives include free Wi-Fi and Live fare which gives customers the ability to monitor their taxi charges in realtime.