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Technology

Vehicles dealer rolls out taxi-hailing app

The Peppea team assists Quickmart Supermarket shoppers in Ruaka
The Peppea team assists Quickmart Supermarket shoppers in Ruaka, Nairobi to ferry their luggage home during the Peppea launch in Ruaka on Saturday. PHOTO | MILLICENT MWOLOLO | NMG 

A Kenyan motor vehicle dealer has launched a taxi-hailing app, promising to give big players such as Uber a run for their money.

Nairobi-based Maridady Motors Limited, launched Peppea on Saturday with a plan to give drivers and riders a better deal.

“We have been researching on the solution for the last one year. What Kenyans need is a reliable transport system that is safer and more economical than what is already in the market,” explains Erick Wokabi, the business development manager at Maridady Motors.

The new app is banking on better pay for drivers and improved comfort for passengers to edge out competition comprising mainly foreign firms.

Peppea takes seven percent commission from drivers. For instance if the driver makes Sh1,000, Peppea will earn Sh75 when some of the competitors are earning Sh200 commission from the same amount.

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“This ensures that in every Sh1000, the driver earns Sh100 more than what is already in the market and our client pays Sh25 less,” says Mr Wokabi.

The platform also offers several platforms for payment.

“You can pay by cash, on M-Pesa, credit/debit card and online through the Peppea wallet where you pay through a QR Code,” explains Maridady Motors Limited director Eric Ngigi, who is currently in the US marketing the enterprise to potential investors in diaspora.

Peppea is being rolled out in five phases, with first phase being launched last Saturday in Ruaka, Kiambu. The consequent phases will see the app expands to the entire Nairobi by the end of the year.

“We are targeting those areas around Nairobi where there is a high demand for cabs,” says Mr Wokabi adding the new app is “urban and African”.

The platform offers four categories of transport — Ubuntu, Platinum Gold and Classic. Ubuntu offers seven-seater vans.

“Instead of taking a matatu, groups of travellers going to one destination can pool together the cab in the African spirit of togetherness. That is why we have called it Ubuntu,” Mr Wokabi says.

Another segment is Platinum, a luxury and semi-luxury taxi. Gold category is meant for corporate companies, and is served by a spacious vehicle that provides luxury and space to accommodate some luggage.

Classic, the lowest in terms of cost, is for the masses.

The development of Peppea has also been informed by the need for a reliable online taxi hailing platform for Maridady’s Smart PSVs business wing. This is where investors buy a taxi from Maridady and enters into a 24-month contract for management and servicing with the firm.

“We manage the business and give our client a guaranteed return on investment every month for 24 months,” Mr Ngigi says.

After the 24-month contract with Smart PSVs, the investor can sell off the vehicle and exit or do a trade in with Maridady. Smart PSVs, Mr Ngigi says, was informed by the fact that most Kenyans run taxi business as a side hustle and this exposes the business to so many challenges.

“We want to make taxi business profitable where our investors will be assured of guaranteed returns,” he adds.

The firm hopes to create more jobs for the youth through Peppea and Smart PSVs.

As the roll-out continues, Maridady Motors plans to work with university students as Peppea agents who will enlist drivers for the business.

“The online taxi market in Kenya is still a new idea. We are still learning the market dynamics. But we want our drivers and clients to have great experiences and we tell them; ‘be afraid of nothing’. Peppea ( a kiswahili world meaning soar high in),” says Mr Wokabi.

Eric Sawanda, a Kenyan living and working in Dubai, UAE has invested in the Smart PSVs with Maridady.

“I entered the business in May. They have delivered as per the terms and they pay on time. I am adding my second unit this month,” he says. “As a person who has previously invested in a 14-seater that went down the drain, I would encourage someone who wants to invest in the taxi business to do it because it is hassle-free.”

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