, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – Competition in the mobile technology ride-sharing service has pushed Uber to introduce an economy product in the Kenyan market dubbed UberSELECT.
The firm announced that it is introducing a low-cost product in Nairobi designed to be cheaper for riders and more affordable for partners.
The move comes after the firm increased its prices following drivers’ protests who have been demanding a review of rates amidst increasing competition in the ride-sharing sector.
Among the competitors include MondoRide that offers both cars and motorcycles (boda-boda) transport services, Safaricom-backed Little Cab company which offers free WiFi for clients as well as Taxify, Maramoja and Dandia among others.
“Riders have been going for other ride-sharing service providers since Uber raised their minimum prices to Sh300 from Sh200. My driver makes more money from Taxify than any other ride-sharing service,” said Jairo Ombasa, an Uber partner, who has also invested in Taxify.
Uber says it has now relaxed its rules and is allowing all types of cars for its new UberSelect product that will be cheaper. It is, however, it no longer signing-up cars for its UberX product.
“To encourage cars to be added to the new, low-cost product, we are offering Sh3,000 as an incentive for a limited time only after the car takes 20 trips on the new product alone. Existing uberX partners can have cars on both products,” the firm says.
All types of cars will be accepted on the low-cost product with Uber recommending low cost, fuel efficient cars that include a Toyota Vitz or 800 -1200cc car models.
Requirements for the new, low-cost product are different from the requirements for uberX but includes NTSA inspection and sticker, PSV insurance and a Copy of logbook.
“We will continue to monitor market conditions and activate cars when needed on a first come, first served basis depending on market factors and business priorities,” the firm notes.
Uber is the market leader with revenue market share of 30.63 percent and fleet stake of 28.6 percent while its main rival Little Cab has fleet stake of 34 percent, and revenue share of 9.95 percent.