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Africa’s 15 cab hailing apps to watch

Uber, the global ride-sharing company that relies on smartphone technology for dispatch and fee payment, has become the most recognized alternative to traditional taxicabs.

Uber operates in 15 major African cities, with some 60,000 drivers in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

The company is best known for disrupting the transport industry by introducing a platform that ensures fair prices, quality standards and convenience – a concept that has quickly swept around the globe.

Not to be left behind, Africa has come up with more than sixty ride-sharing services across 21 countries with a majority trying to adapt to socioeconomic realities. Lagos is the city with the most ridesharing services in Africa followed by Nairobi.

Below, we have compiled a list of 15 ride hailing apps that are making inroads in Africa.

1.     Africa Ride – South Africa

Launched in December 2016, South Africa-based Africa Ride operates in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Rustenburg—three of South Africa’s largest cities—and allows individuals, corporations, non-governmental organizations and government departments to set up their own accounts.

It offers a variety of payment options including weekly and monthly payment plans and accepts payment via mobile wallet apps.

Africa Ride has come up with a model where drivers are co-owners of the business by putting all the drivers under a trust and the trust owns a certain percentage of the business.

2.     Careem – Egypt

Founded five years ago, Dubai-based Careem operates in 80 cities across 13 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia ranging from Pakistan to Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.

Careem seeks to address specific regional challenges, especially payments infrastructure in emerging markets and cultural attitudes toward women driving and taking transit alone.

3.     Fone Taxi – Kenya

With its headquarters in U.S Washington DC, Fone Taxi operates in four African countries – Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

The taxi car/bike management system features include in-built car/bike cost estimator,  localized payment system, traffic heat maps, GPS directions, trip history, real-time communication and many more to help the driver get the best out of their car as well as secure the passenger.

4.     Little Cab – Kenya

Kenya-based Little Cab is an app-based ride-sharing service launched in 2016 by the mobile phone operator Safaricom.

The app has a live-fare feature that allows customers to monitor the fare rate throughout the trip, and a little coin feature that allows customers store unpaid change as credit for future rides.

With this service, customers can redeem Safaricom bonga points for cab rides, use local cashless mobile payment system, MPesa, and it soon plans to roll out for USSD (non-smartphone) users.

Little also offers a women-friendly ride service called Ladybug. The Lady Bug service is a local adaptation of initiatives such as  DriverHer, SafeHer, SheRides and Chariot for Women- global taxi services that address the safety and harassment of female passengers by regular cab drivers.

This service has professional lady drivers ferry women who prefer women drivers due to safety concerns. Lady Bug service is open for requests to all customers from 6:00 am until 6:00pm, after which only ladies are allowed to make a request.

5.     Maramoja – Kenya

Taxi-hailing service Maramoja started as an Uber for Africa in 2015. MaraMoja’s key differentiator is it uses the app to sift through your network to identify your friend’s favorite drivers and if they are near your and then sends them to you to complete your ride.

MaraMoja does not calculate payments based on distance or time spent on the ride but has zoned various regions in Nairobi that allows one to determine fare charges. on it. Charges for the ride show as soon as you confirm your trip.

In partnership with Exec Cars, the firm also offers on demand luxury services from the app. Users get two options, one for taxis and the other for Luxury. Luxury rides are priced at 3X the normal taxi pricing.

Payments are through card, mobile money, Invoicing for enterprise clients and cash payments.

6.     Max.ng – Nigeria

Founded in 2015 to solve logistics challenges in Nigeria, ride hailing transport service provider Max.ng (which stands for Metro Africa Xpress) looks to transform Africa’s two-wheeled taxi services leveraging Max app, which provides a last mile delivery service option (MAX Now) using a 200cc motorcycle (MAX Go).

The app provides riders for on demand delivery where your order or package is delivered in no more than 3 hours.

7.   Mellowcabs – South Africa

South African startup Mellowcabs is disrupting the transport sector with its efforts to create high-tech fully-electric eco-friendly public transport vehicles.

Mellowcabs manufactures and operates three-wheeled, electric mini-cabs to provide low cost, eco-friendly and convenient taxi and transport services in built-up cities. A mobile app connects the commuters and cabs and payment can be made by cash or card via the app. The passenger section of the cab can be replaced with a cargo section.

Unlike meter cabs and large, privately owned cars, the solution is less expensive, aims to be more convenient and avoids mass pollution. Using shells made from recycled PET, the cars use regenerative braking which recovers and converts kinetic energy into electricity. An additional facet includes a flexible solar panel in the roof which can generate up to 35% of the cab’s power.

Mellowcabs has also developed an on-demand App which includes features such as allowing gender-specific requests for women to request female drivers.

8.     Mondo Ride – Kenya

Kenyan-based Mondo Ride, which started its Kenya operations in January 2016 was founded in Dubai but is headquartered in Nairobi.

Instead of providing a single service, Mondo capitalized on allowing riders to hail a boda boda motorcycle in Nairobi or the three-wheeled tuk-tuk motorbike in Mombasa. Its corporate solution also allowed companies to hail rides for employees and clients and to track their spending on both an individual and department level. Customers are also able to go on long-distance travels to other cities after setting up a predetermined price.

9.     Ousta – Egypt

Egyptian startup Ousta promises no surge rates, lower fares, more safety features for riders and brandishes a seemingly patriotic approach to ride hailing

10. Safe Motos – Rwanda

In Rwanda, where “taxi-motos” offer cost-effective transportation for low-income people and provided a livelihood for drivers, transport startup Safe Motos which has been active since 2015 endeavors to provide safe rides for both passengers and drivers.

SafeMotos is a digital platform that connects passengers with mototaxi drivers in Kigali, Rwanda. The company offers its app to drivers and passengers to pinpoint pickup spots, meter fares, and facilitate payments.

It incentivizes shared transportation by making it safer: Drivers are equipped with smartphones to monitor how safely they drive, by capturing and analyzing data on speed, acceleration, and location, and pushes bad drivers to the outskirts of the system.. SafeMotos drivers display distinctive red flags, which identifies them as safe drivers, and gives them a competitive edge in a crowded market.

Rwandan startup SafeMotos is looking to address the country’s shocking road traffic accident statistics, particularly with regard to motorcycles – with 80 per cent of road accidents in Rwanda involving a motorbike.

11. SafeBoda – Uganda

SafeBoda offers a safer motorcycle-taxi experience in Africa.

SafeBoda was launched in 2014 with the aim to reduce BodaBoda (motorcycle) accidents in Kampala, Uganda. SafeBoda trains and teaches drivers to safely navigate streets, requires the use of helmets for passengers and drivers, and use mobile technology to connect drivers with customers.

12. TaxiDiali – Algeria

TaxiDiali is available in over 30 cities in Algeria. The app allows you to call drivers near you by touching a taxi on the map and clicking the subsequent phone number.

13. Taxify – Kenya

Kenyan-based Taxify operates in Nairobi and Mombasa – two of Kenya’s biggest cities.
In 2018, the company expanded its service portfolio to include motorbike hailing service that operates within their existing smartphone application being used by vehicles.

14. Unicab – South Africa

South Africa’s 25-year-old operator Unicab launched an app that’s similar to Uber’s in 2015, which passengers can use to plan their trips.

15. Yego Motos – Rwanda

Yego Moto offers a technology system that allows taxi-moto operators to charge passengers without bargaining. It is a ‘meter’ service which uses Global Positioning System (GPS) devices installed on motorcycles to deliver information about the journey covered by a passenger.

The startup is run by Singaporean investors who want to change the way the taxi-moto business operates in Rwanda.

The system allows passengers to pay using mobile money, and the long-term plan is to introduce card payment feature as an alternative for those who might not be using mobile money

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