Uber cashes in on popularity of tuk tuks cabs

Loic Amado
Uber East Africa general manager Loic Amado during a past interview. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

US-based e-hailing service company Uber is betting on the popularity of Mombasa’s signature three-wheelers with the launch of a tuk tuk service in Mombasa.

Dubbed UberPoa, the service was first launched in Dar-es Salaam as tuk tuks are a highly sought after low-cost public transport in East Africa’s coastal towns.

“Tuk tuks are a popular choice across Kenya, and we are determined to launch localised products such as uberPoa that resonates with the local citizens,” said Mr Loic Amado, general manager for Uber East Africa in a statement on Thursday.

UberPoa, which means cool in Kiswahili, will be running alongside uberX and will follow the same safety measures applied to all Uber options.

Riders will still be able to see all uberPoa driver details, such as their name, photo, and licence plate number.

There will also be able to see whether others have had a good experience with uberPOA drivers and can contact customer support via the in-app help feature if there are any issues related to a trip.

UberPOA will be priced with a base fare of Sh10, Sh15 per kilometre, Sh3 per min and a minimum fare of Sh50. Riders will be able to travel to popular routes such as Posta to Nyali from Sh170, Posta to Bamburi from Sh280, Likoni ferry to Tudor from Sh270, Kongowela to City Mall from Sh130 and Bamburi to Pirates from Sh50.

Uber has launched a similar service in Sri Lanka last month under the name UberTUK.

This is the second new service Uber has introduced after bringing in the low cost UberChapChap option in Nairobi in January.

The service initially used fuel-efficient 800cc Suzuki Alto with a consumption rate of 25 kilometres per litre.