Online taxi booking firm, Uber, goes for cash pay option


The taxi service provider now allows consumers in Kenya to pay via cash and mobile money. PHOTO | AFP

Global online taxi hailing company Uber has allowed the use of cash and mobile money for its Kenyan customers, making Nairobi the first city in Africa and the second in the world after Hyderabad, India, to give other payment options other than cards.

The move comes after the conclusion of a two-month pilot test in Nairobi, a largely cash-driven economy and also one of the fastest growing cities with an Uber following. Uber previously only allowed a few, randomly selected people to pay cash for its services.

“The test indicated there was massive pent-up demand for the Uber service as new rider sign-ups and referrals increased five-fold. The number of partner drivers has also doubled over the last two months to cope with the growth in demand,” said Alon Lits, Uber regional general- manager for sub-Saharan Africa.

Payment option

He declined to reveal the number of customers and signed-up drivers.

He said that riders in Nairobi will have access to all the current Uber features but can simply choose the cash payment option at the end of the trip.

“Nairobi is on the front line of great innovations in the continent and the cash payment system is quite timely,” said Mr Lits.

The Uber network is now available in over 330 cities in the world in 60 countries with one million riders being booked per day through the platform.

The firm, which uses an innovative smartphone app, connects riders to drivers with reduced bargaining stress as a client pays according to distance covered and waiting time.

"Pricing is predetermined by kilometre coverage meaning every trip is priced the same hence no negotiation hassles. Riders in Nairobi pay Sh60 per a kilometre covered and Sh4 per minute.

"To request a ride, users must download the free application for Android smartphones through Google Play Store, iPhone, Blackberry 7, Windows Phone or register for Uber on our website,” said Alastair Curtis, Uber International Launcher, Nairobi.