When Little Ride, a joint taxi business venture by Kenya’s leading Telco Company Safaricom and Craft Silicon, launched they caused a ripple in the business. Uber’s first instinct was lowering its prices. Not just lowering but cutting the prices by a whopping 35 percent. This is a move that did not settle well with the driver-partners. For a while they held protests but ultimately they accepted their fate, at least. It is worth noting that Uber takes 25 percent of the driver-partner earnings unlike Little Ride which only settles for 15 percent.
Uber claimed that the price cut in Nairobi was aimed at benefitting both riders and driver-partners. It was a huge gamble and it seems as though it paid off going by the latest Uber Kenya release statement. It is also worth noting that Uber took the same measure to counter Little Ride when it launched in Mombasa city.
According to Uber’s findings, the price cut led directly to 100 percent increase in the number of new rides per week. That is literally double the amount of new rides for driver-partners. The driver-partner earnings were also boosted and now they spend less hours to earn the same as before. Drivers now do not have to spend extra hours to earn the same as before due to the decrease in hours per driver-partner. This is toppled with the fact that now there are over 70 percent more trips per day for driver-partners. Just for the record, Uber claims that they continue to have over 100,000 unique people opening their app every single month looking for a safe new ride.
Uber has entered into partnership with some local industries to offer their driver-partners some benefits. Some of the benefits that Uber driver-partners get include:
- They have a vehicle solution program through Sidian Bank that provides loans valued at 10 billion offering qualifying driver-partners up to 100 percent finance deals on vehicles priced between Ksh.1 million and Ksh.1.5 million.
- The driver-partners receive 3.50 off every litre of petrol every time they fuel at Total petrol stations.
- The partners are able to service their vehicles at any Auto Express at a discounted rate.
- Driver-partners can also wash their cars at affordable rates of 100 to wash saloon cars and Ksh.250 to wash vans through a partnership with 24HR Car Wash Limited.
The following is a remark from one of the driver partners:
“Business has been good actually, I can’t complain. Since the cut, it has picked up. Before, you had to wait a while to get a trip, but now, it is continuous. There is more frequency of trips so I am actually making more than before.”
-Peter, Uber Kenya driver-partner