Wednesday, 30 November 2016

KENYA: Taxi Battle Expected Between Kenya Based Little Cab And Uber

Little Cab, a taxi-hailing app owned by Nairobi-based technology firms, Craft Silicon, and East Africa’s biggest telecommunication provider, Safaricom, plans to expand its operations to Uganda and Nigeria as it intensifies its market battle against the dominant U.S.-based taxi-haling firm, Uber.

The decision is likely to change the app’s fortunes, whose increase in customers in Kenya has not led to a rise in its earnings, unlike Uber that is already operating in 15 cities across eight African countries.

“We plan to go by the first quarter of next year. Most probably it will either be Nigeria or Uganda. We are thinking of one of the two countries,” Kamal Budhabhati, chief executive of Craft Silicon said.

Nigeria is the most populous nation on the continent and currently has six taxi-hailing companies battling for over 86 million people who have access to the internet.

Uber is the leading taxi-hailing app in the country, and has recorded more than one million trips since it launched in March, last year.

Uber entered the Ugandan market in June, but the market remains largely under-exploited.

Little, launched in July as Little Cabs is considered Uber’s biggest competitor locally, due to its low prices.

The taxi-hailing app is banking on its low prices to grow its customer numbers and improve on its 3,500 trips recorded.

In July, Uber reduced its price per kilometer from $ 0.59 to $0.34, in efforts to maintain its customer numbers after Little Cabs introduced a $0.54 per kilometer fare.

The expansion plan announcement came just days after Little Cab reduced its price per kilometer to $ 0.29, making it the cheapest cab services provider in East Africa’s biggest economy.

The reduction is likely to push Uber into lowering its prices in other African markets as the price battle between the two leading taxi-hailing apps in Kenya intensifies.

Little will also launch motorbike rides in the Kenyan capital and Thika town. It currently offers Lady Bug, a service which is only offered by women operators to female clients.