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Mobile app Taxify heats up competition in Kenya

Mobile app Taxify heats up competition in Kenya

With Uber, the recently launched Taxi Chap Chap as well as Craft Silicon/Safaricom's Little Cab in the race for mobile connected passengers in Kenya, is there room for another player? Yes, says management behind transport technology firm and mobile ride-hailing app Taxify, which launched in Africa last year.

The company is now up against Taxi Chap Chap which launched in Nairobi in September 2016, while Little Cab did the same in July. Little Cab also announced it can be accessed through USSD, thus capitalising on the East African country's non-smartphone user base.

Taxify was established in 2013 in Estonia and currently operates in 18 countries, four of which are in Africa and include Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. It has leveraged US$1.5m investment to expand operations and is aiming to compete aggressively in target markets, including Kenya.

The business strategy is focused on the relationship the company has with its drivers says Alex Mwaura, City Manager, Taxify Nairobi.

"Our drivers/partners have always enjoyed better compensation per ride at 15% commission retained by Taxify compared to the top competitor who charges 25% commission in Kenya. We tremendously value our drivers and treat them well, and they, in turn, treat our customers well," says Mwaura.

Price point

Price is a key differentiator within Kenya's ever-competitive market. Last year a price war erupted between Uber and Little Cab with the former reported to have reduced its price from Ks.60 per kilometre to Ksh.35, only for the latter to respond with a reduction to from Ksh.55 to Ksh.30 in November 2016.

Uber's decision to reduce fares resulted in a disruption to its service in Nairobi in August when driver partners staged a sit-in protest at the company's offices.

In response the company said that it encourages and respects the right of driver-partners to voice issues or concerns that affect their business, but would not be intimidated through acts of violence or harassment. The company also added that it will not hesitate to deactivate any driver-partners from the platform, in case they are found contravening the company's policy.

According to Mwaura Taxify offers a base rate of Ksh.85 and Ksh.30 per km.

He believes there is room for new offerings and welcomes the competition. "We have a good appreciation of the growth trends in internet and mobile internet use in Africa, and aim to provide the market with top notch solution platforms in tandem with this growth."

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