Taxi apps are nothing new in the Kenyan scene, but we must admit that their adoption, which can be attributed to Uber’s disruption in the cab-hailing business, has changed the narrative that now appreciates technological advances. However, it is apparent that innovative taxi products are not having a smooth sail amid complaints from drivers who are crying foul of dwindling commissions, among other issues.
While Uber, Taxify as well as Little are on a go-slow, Kenyan company Virscom has today announced a taxi app called ShareCAB that has been termed as the country’s most affordable cab-hailing app. The app will charge drivers zero percent in commissions, which translates to more money in the driver’s wallets, but riders will not pay more. ShareCABTM hopes to undercut the competition with additional cab-sharing options that will see customers save up to 50 per cent of fare.
“ShareCAB is a state-of-the-art app, offering every facility in Kenya for app-based taxis, plus new models on ride sharing, zero commission so that drivers earn far more per ride, and a green motivation in reducing rides through sharing,” said Virscom Founder and CEO, Mwakio Ngale.
This is launch is strategically timed thanks to the aforementioned strike that seeks to see taxi fares go up (which is good for drivers but not good news for riders).
“No taxi App can deliver the breadth of drivers for any rider who books a call if the drivers themselves are losing money or earning too little to respond to bookings,” said Mwakio.
“For a taxi App to serve riders with prompt pickups and motivated drivers, drivers themselves need to be properly rewarded, and riders need to enjoy competitive fares.”
Since drivers will not pay any commission to the company, their pockets will be lined with more money, and when combined with shared rides, they stand to gain up to 38 per cent in returns. At the same time, sharing a ride for passengers heading to the same route means they will pay less. In some occasions, having a riding partner will earn riders up to 50 per cent in discounts.
So, you ask, how’s the company going to make money? Well, drivers will pay a flat rate membership fee of KES 2000 each month.
“My motivation was to create a platform where costs can be drastically reduced for customers and increased for drivers, in a combination that was smart and improved on our carbon footprint. At the end of the day, every shared ride will make a better environment for our kids,” says Mwakio.
Similar to Little, ShareCAB is developed by Kenyan talent and incorporates nice touches like an SOS button (which Little rolled out a couple of days ago) to alert the police or family in case something bad happens during a ride. Security will further be guaranteed by the firm’s thorough vetting process.
“We collect the drivers’ copies of Certificate of Good Conduct, KRA certificate, national ID and passport size photographs. We have also partnered with an agency that assists us with the drivers’ background checks,” adds Mwakio.
The app is live on Google Play for Android users. iOS and Windows Mobile users are out of luck, but there are plans to develop apps for the two platforms.
Pricing will be as follows:
Base fare: KES 100
Minimum fare: KES 250
Sharing with one extra customer
Base fare: KES 50
Minimum fare: KES 125
Sharing with 2 people
Base fare: KES 34
Minimum fare: KES 84
Cost per minute: KES 4
Cost per kilometre: KES 30
ShareCAB will initially launch in Nairobi, and extend its turf across the country in the next 6 months. A year from today, the app hopes to export its services to South Africa, Nigeria, San Francisco, Dubai and Toronto.
Also, how about putting more work on the logo?