Ride hailing firm Little which was launched in mid 2016 by Craft Silicon in partnership with Safaricom has announced that it will no longer be operating in Kenya from tomorrow, that is October 1, 2019.
In an email to riders who use the platform, the Craft Silicon founder and CEO Kamal Budhabhatti said that the move is due to a communication the firm received from ‘authorities’ to the effect that they are not ‘allowed to hail a shuttle on Little.’
Below is the email:
“Sad news about Little Shuttle Normally I put email to my riders with good news. Today I have an exception. I would like to share some sad news with all of you. Few days before we got a communication from the authorities that we are not allowed to Hail a shuttle on Little. The Shuttles we hail are from our partners who are properly licensed, but we were told that it is not the right kind of license.
We run point to point shuttle services on our Little App. We have thousands of Shuttle riders who ride on our platform every single day, many of them several times a day. I have met many of them personally. Most of them have been very happy with the service. Its efficient, it can be tracked, It’s on time, it’s clean and safe and off all, it’s not chaotic. Our shuttles service is so popular that most of the times they are fully booked. I have no quarrel with the authorities. They are doing their job as per what is listed in their bible. However, I would have appreciated that they open a dialog with technology companies like us on how to work together and change the face of public transportation in our country.
We have been running this services for last three quarters, and we have proved that public transport can be operated in efficient and profitable manner. A manner that can bring sanity in the chaotic public transport in our city. Over several months, we have learnt a lot. We have made changes to our technology so that it works as expected. We have been able to come up with the right ingredients to address the problem at hand.
And I just hope that these efforts do not go in vain. If this information is wrong, I do apologize, but I was told that when Safaricom launched MPESA, there was no proper regulation on mobile money. However, as it started helping Kenyans, Central Bank did not stop Safaricom, but they worked togeather to formulate a legal model.
I would have appreciated a similar approach on this matter. And I pray that happens. I Love Kenya. Kenya is my country. We are a unique nation. We are innovative and entrepreneurial. We like trying out new things, some fail some succeed. So challenges like these are not going to shake our dreams. At Little, we have big dreams. We want to be pan African mobility provider, and it would happen with time and I am glad that our riders are supporting me.
I am not sure if the decision to stop us was from the authorities or they were under pressure from the public transport cartels. Whatever the case, I would like to apologies to our riders that we would not be running this service from 1 October 2019, till we get a clearance from the relevant authorities. Do share this with your friends and on social media, so that our riders are aware of this news and do make other arrangements for their daily commute.
Thank you, Kamal Budhabhatti, Chief Executive, Little.”
By shutting down its Kenya operations, Little is now left with Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana.
Other ride hailing firms still operating in Kenya include Uber, Bolt (formerly Taxify), Easy Taxi and Mara Moja among Others.
Another taxi hailing firm, Mondo Ride, seems to have ceased operations in late 2018.