How long before Taxify overtakes Uber as the most popular taxi hailing service in Kenya?

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  • 4 years ago
  • Posted: April 20, 2018 at 9:32 am

January 2015. That’s the time Uber launched in Kenya, a time when Kennedy Kachwanya wrote a piece explaining why he thought Uber would find it difficult to make any meaningful progress in the country. Of the five points that Kachwanya based his opinion on, point three has remained relevant to date. In point three, Kachwanya asked, “What incentives are they giving taxi owners to join them?” Although Kachwanya asked about incentives that Uber wanted to use to attract drivers and taxi owners to its services, today the answer is, “there are no incentives to make Uber drivers remain loyal to Uber”. And that’s why Taxify, a taxi hailing service that launched in Kenya a year and a half after Uber, is now set to overtake Uber as the number one taxi hailing service in the country.

Taxify which yesterday launched two significant features on its platform, the TaxifyGO and TaxifyXL, has two important advantages over Uber. The first is that almost every Uber driver is a Taxify driver, and those Uber drivers on Taxify prefer Taxify to Uber. Secondly, Uber customers are slowly switching over to Taxify.

The fact that Uber drivers prefer Taxify to Uber has been established by testimonies of various taxi hailing service users, with one particularly one striking a chord. In this testimony, it is said that a certain individual who needed a taxi to rush his mom to the hospital used Uber to call a taxi. An Uber driver accepted the request, only to call the said person to “kindly” cancel the request as he, the driver, didn’t realise he had run out of fuel. The person heeded, cancelled the trip, switched to Taxify, only for the same driver to accept the Taxify request and come to the gentleman’s rescue. After the gentleman posted his experience on Facebook, a number of taxi hailing service users confirmed they had undergone a similar experience.

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Earlier yesterday Kennedy Kachwanya took a Taxify just to find out why the drivers prefer Taxify to Uber. In his interview with the driver, he was told that the main problem drivers have with Uber is that “Uber does not listen to drivers”, forcing the drivers to use Uber only as “backup”, simply because “Uber has many clients”. The backup is important for the drivers when the drivers are making a return trip. Secondly, Uber becomes important to the drivers when there is a price surge and thirdly when they have to make trips from the airport as Uber’s “pricing from the airport is “good”, the driver said. Despite these three scenarios where drivers would prefer Uber, the fact that Uber deducts 25% commission compared to 15% deducted by Taxify has driven the drivers away from Uber to Taxify. Sadly, the Uber drivers have complained about this high commission, including participating in slow downs and strikes, but “Uber does not listen to drivers”.

The second reason why Taxify is set to overtake Uber is that slowly clients are slowly switching over to Taxify. The reasons for the switch are three: Uber takes a lot of time to resolve customer issues, they have illogical trip cancellation policy e.g. when a driver cancels the trip the customer is charged the minimum fare, and lastly Uber drivers are mostly rude. The third reason might be because the very drivers want Uber clients to switch over to Taxify, and the trick is actually working.

Taxify is also setting itself to be the leading taxi hailing service in Kenya by launching the important features I already mentioned above – the axifyGO and Taxify XL features.  TaxifyGO is Taxify’s economy category with pocket friendly fares. The fleet consists of  smaller 4-seater cars with 1300cc engines suitable for everyday commuting. TaxifyXL is a tailor-made category for larger groups with a sitting capacity of 6 passengers.

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he move to bring these additional vehicle types on board as new application features arises from a need to cater for a more diverse customer base which now includes groups who wish to use the larger capacity vehicles such as vans and multi purpose vehicles (MPVs). Attributed to large space, well-equipped cabin and power-packed performance, these cars are comfortable for large families, groups of friends and workmates.

In addition, based on feedback from customers, Taxify has decided to refine its service to include vehicles with smaller engines that consume less fuel, resulting in lower operational costs to drivers and therefore more affordable fares for riders.

Chisom Anoke,  Taxify Head of Operations in Kenya comments: “We have recognized that as our customer base expands, and they grow accustomed to using the ride-sharing service, people are now moving to a point where they want vehicles that can carry more than four passengers at a go”.

He added that there was also a rising number of drivers who wanted to use smaller engine capacity vehicles in the service. “This way we are able to accommodate both riders and drivers on the platform,” said Anoke.

TaxifyXL option starts off at a Base Fare of KES 100.00, with each kilometer attracting KES 40.00, KES 4.00 per minute and Min Fare of KES 250.00. TaxifyGO on the other hand, will be priced at a Base Fare of KES 75.00 with each kilometer attracting KES 22.00, KES 3.00 per minute with Min Fare of KES 100.00.

“These fares have been carefully set to strike a delicate balance between meeting the affordability needs of the customers and making business sense for Taxify drivers,” Anoke explained.

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With TaxifyXL and TaxifyGO coming hot on the heels of recent launches of Taxify Boda in Nairobi and Taxify Tuk Tuk in Mombasa in the month of March 2018, Anoke pledged Taxify’s commitment to “always innovate for superior customer convenience, comfort and safety assurance.”

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