As of not long ago, open transportation in Cairo, Freetown, Lagos, Nairobi and numerous other African urban areas was tumultuous and clumsy. The generally temperamental nearby taxis did not ease the circumstance. Be that as it may, Uber’s entrance into the mainland could be changing the account.
Uber, the worldwide ride-sharing organization that depends on cell phone innovation for dispatch and charge installment, has turned into the most perceived contrasting option to customary taxis. Many favor Uber, propelled in the US in 2009, on account of its reasonable costs, quality gauges and comfort. The idea has spread all around.
By last June, Uber was working in 15 noteworthy African urban communities, with somewhere in the range of 60,000 drivers in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
Uber’s desire is to rule the transportation area in Africa, yet it confronts hardened rivalry from neighborhood organizations. Inadvertently, Uber set off the spread of portable and mapping innovation for gathering spatial information. What’s more, the outcome is that Africa’s neighborhood tech organizations are making their own particular applications that give diverse sorts of administrations to help transportation.
Still, 94% of Kenyans prefer MPesa to other forms of payments. According to Safaricom’s 2016 annual report, Little Cab has been able to slow Uber’s attempt at grabbing a huge chunk of the market.
In South Africa, the privately based Africa Ride, which offers an assortment of installment choices including week after week and regularly scheduled installment designs and acknowledges installment through portable wallet applications, is picking up ubiquity with the residents. The organization works in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Rustenburg- – three of South Africa’s biggest urban communities – and permits people, companies, non-administrative associations and government offices to set up their own records.
Uber, however, appears determined to beat back local competition, and is partnering with indigenous companies to broaden its appeal. In Nigeria, Uber has teamed up with the payment platform Paga, allowing users to pay for services through its mobile money app. Paga also facilitates payments via local debit cards and cash for its 6.4 million users.
In total, Africa hosts nearly sixty ride-sharing services across 21 countries. Some services have tried to adapt to local socioeconomic realities, though they have not always succeeded. For example, the Nairobi-based Bodapp, launched in 2016, shut down its (boda bodas) motorcycle taxi and cab service after only two months. The company said it decided to concentrate on its core logistics business at a time when competition in the cab sector was growing.
Mapping out cities
In a related development, the Digital Matatus Project, an initiative of the US-based development design firm, Groupshot, and researchers at Columbia University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) together with their local partner, University of Nairobi, successfully assembled a database of various routes for the thousands of minibuses (matatus) in Nairobi, using smartphones and GPS units.
Although the concept of ride-sharing is not entirely new to Africa as it has been present in the form of traditional modes of transportation such as minibuses, bush taxis and shared cars, it is Uber’s unique model, transportation married with technology, that has sparked imagination and inspired innovative initiatives in Africa.
Traditional taxi drivers are not happy about the tech-assisted ride-sharing movement, as they fear losing their jobs or incomes. “Uber is destroying taxi work in Nigeria because they charge cheaper fares,” Tony Oyesoya, a taxi driver in Lagos, Nigeria, told Africa Renewal in an interview.
Mr. Oyesoya said while Uber may charge less, the company often hikes its fares as soon as there is traffic congestion. He added that taxi unions in Lagos are thinking of taking up the issue with government.
Like their counterparts in Nigeria, South African drivers are unhappy with what they see as Uber’s anti-competitive behavior. In March, taxi drivers in South Africa mounted a protest against the company by blocking airport roads, while Uber drivers in Kenya have been attacked and their cars set on fire. The South Africa Meter Taxi Association responded earlier this year by developing its own app, Yookoo Ride, designed to connect passengers to metered taxi drivers.
Numerous African governments appear to have been astonished by this advancement in the transportation division and are racing to set up administrative strategies. A year ago, Ghana turned into the primary nation in Africa to have a Standard of Understanding (SOU) marked between its Ministry of Transport and Uber. The SOU gives all encompassing rules to taxi operations, and energizes the utilization of innovation yet directs it for riders, drivers and organizations.
Despite such efforts to regulate growth in the transportation sector, innovative approaches will increase, industry experts predict, especially with the potential increase in smartphone penetration in Africa.