Little to introduce electric bikes and scooters in varsities, select estates

Kamal Budhabhatti

Little CEO Kamal Budhabhatti. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenyan taxi-hailing app Little Cab is set to introduce electric bikes and scooters in universities and select Nairobi estates as the firm moves to expand its services beyond ride and delivery services.

Little is piloting the new service with 200 e-scooters and electric bikes at the University of Nairobi before introducing it to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and Kenyatta University (KU). 

Little chief executive Mr Kamal Budhabhatti said the plan will see the firm partner with the universities to have students manage the bikes and ensure they are charged.

The two-wheelers will be fitted with a geofence, a location-based technology that restricts movements or use within a virtual perimeter. In this case, the locations where the service will be available. 

The arrangement will also have the universities provide security, keeping the bikes within the university’s premises. 

“We are also talking with some estates. 200 is a small number we are doing in universities. If the plan works well we will get 10,000 of these and assemble them locally,” said Mr Budhabhatti.

‘’We are certain with micro-mobility services like bikes and scooters and if it works out well we will scale to motor vehicles.” 

Little plans to charge Sh20 per hour for the micro-mobility vehicles and restrict them to a maximum of two hours per single ride. 

The expansion follows an investment of Sh540 million ($5 million) received from investors for growth in the next five years which also includes expansion into Ethiopia. 

Plans for a mass rollout of light vehicles for users in Nairobi CBD has been delayed by safety concerns. 

Mr Budhabhatti said the plans to expand into Ethiopia have been hampered by ongoing conflicts in the Tigray region. 

“Expansion into Ethiopia slowed because of conflicts but things have stabilised and we hope between now and quarter four we will see substantial progress,” Mr Budhabhatti added.

The firm now joins ride-hailing competitor Bolt, which introduced electric tuk-tuks, and e-bicycles on its platform last year.