The taxi-hailing service arena is getting more competitive each day as new entrants seek a share of the expanding transport segment.
One of the latest players in the field is Caby, which promises more convenience and better earnings for drivers.
The start-up has come up with a unique subscription model for drivers, who are required to pay a set sum to use the app for a specified duration. The charges start from Sh200 to use the app for 24 hours.
This novel model is in addition to the common commission system currently being used by taxi hailing apps globally.
Caby product manager Kevin Mulama says the new pricing model is a product of the challenges that drivers have been subjected to over the years.
“Caby is banking on frustrations that the drivers have had in the past. They have gone on strike because they feel they are not getting what they deserve and some have even quit the business,” Mr Mulama says.
Caby will face tough competition from earlier entrants to the party, which include Bolt, Little Cab, Uber, Wasili, ShareCab and Caboda.
The high number of players has been responsible for a series of price wars within the industry, as rivals consistently cut fares, while increasing or retaining their commissions that they levy drivers, reducing their daily earnings.
In July last year, there was a standoff in the industry as Uber, Bolt and Little Cab drivers pushed for doubling fares for riders.
They also called for their commissions to be standardised at 10 percent of total earnings, down from the 25 percent charged by Uber and 20 percent charged by Bolt.
Little Cab has been charging a commission of 15 percent. Caby also charges 15 percent on the commission model.
The Caby app, available on the Playstore, adopts the common concepts in short-trip services. The app contains Caby Xpress for cars below 1300cc engine size, Caby (above 1300 cc) and boda boda. It also includes safety measures such as an SoS button which shares location with an emergency contact as well as with the firm. Caby is in talks with a local security firm for emergency response.
After every six months, the company will also be undertaking inspection of the cars using its app.
The new app allows riders to change pickup locations, add stopovers and change destination within a certain radius as determined by the application. These can be done while on the ride.
“Drivers can’t start a ride or end a trip in a location that it is not within this radius. Through this, we are a creating a brand that is much reliable and relatable. This redeuces the chances of being overcharged,” says Mr Mulama.
The company that began operations in mid December 2019 has so far signed up about 4,000 drivers in Nairobi, and intends to expand to main cities, including Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru.