The ride-sharing space in Kenya is about to get a little more crowded. On Tuesday, the African nation’s largest telecoms operator Safaricom launched its own car service, known as Little Cab, to go directly up against Uber. Little Cab, developed in tandem with Craft Silicon, a local software firm, is the latest in a series of home-grown transportation services that have been backed in a number of countries to compete with the San Francisco-based giant.
As per a Reuters report, cars in Little Cab’s fleet will offer their passengers free Wi-Fi, provide cheaper fares than competitive services, and perhaps most attractively, pay drivers better by offering “a higher share of revenues.” Riders can choose between the “Comfort” service and the “Basic” service, with the latter offering a more economical option in older cars. Further, Kenyans looking to book a ride in advance can check out the “Ride Later” option.
There’s also the “Lady Bug” service, which caters exclusively to women with both female drivers and female passengers. “A first in Kenya and Africa, Little Cab has introduced a lady-friendly category, ‘Lady Bug,’ with professional lady drivers to ensure women’s safety on the road,” said Craft Silicon CEO, Kamal Budhabhatti. “Lady Bug’ service will be open for requests to all customers from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., after which only ladies will be allowed to make a request,” he added. This women-centric option hopes to assuage fears regarding female safety in the transportation industry.
As for Uber, the company says that it’s happy to see more players in the ride-sharing space. “At the end of the day competition is good,” said Nate Anderson, the general manager of Uber Kenya. The American company hasn’t been all too well-received in Kenya, as a number of taxi drivers have complained that the service has undercut their offerings, making it difficult to make a living. A few months ago, six men were charged with attempted murder and malicious damage to property after they allegedly attacked an Uber driver in February.