Uber is expanding to five additional towns including Kisumu as the company steps up its growth push amid increased competition.
The ride-hailing platform will also start operations in Eldoret, Naivasha, Elementaita, and Gilgil.
In Kisumu, Uber will be targeting demand arising from the metropolis’ city status, and available infrastructure including an airport and hospitality facilities that fuel both business and leisure travel.
It will be joining its rivals Little and Bolt which started operation in the lakeside city in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
“We have soft-launched the cities and we will be going as the product becomes more developed. We see the potential in these cities and are confident that they will grow and become very reliable for us,” said Uber head of East Africa, Imran Manji.
Uber said rates charged to riders are expected to be lower than those charged in Nairobi with the availability of service depending on demand.
“Rates will depend on cities. Each city will be managed separately because the cost of living and affordability is different. Not all products available in Nairobi will be found in those cities. For example, you may find Uber X (premium option) in one city and not in another city. It will also depend on vehicles the drivers have,” Mr Manji.
Uber has a presence in Nairobi, Thika, and Mombasa and made an entry into Nakuru in 2021 where taxi-hailing services are dominated by local operators Wasili Cabs and Bolt, with Bomba and Safiri racing for market share.
The mounting competition in the digital ride-hailing industry has seen operators expand their geographical reach across the country while adding new transport services on their platforms.
Bolt is the largest ride-hailing service provider in terms of towns, with its services available in 16 towns including Kakamega, Nakuru, Naivasha, Eldoret, Kitale, Nyeri, Meru, Embu, Nanyuki, Karatina, Kilifi and Malindi.
Little also has operations in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, and Nyeri.
The firms offer a variety of transport services including taxi rides at expense of companies, tuk-tuk, and boda boda (motorcycle) rides.
Bolt, Uber and Little have introduced electric tuk-tuks and electric motorcycles which seek to reduce carbon emissions amid a widening offering of greener transport needs in the country.
Currently, the low-priced and almost default service for most Kenyans, Uber Chap Chap charges a minimum fare of Sh150 and Sh25 per kilometre.
The more expensive Uber X charges a minimum of Sh200 and Sh38 per kilometre.