With a road network comprising just over 177,000 km, Kenya boasts an impressive transportation grid that connects locals. Uber, which launched just six years ago, has steadily pioneered the country into smarter logistic solutions that now enable safer, more affordable and convenient travel at just a tap of the button.
A smarter city
Uber focuses its efforts on providing holistic lifestyle solutions that cater to the needs of Kenyans, to make getting around easier and getting what they want delivered, done faster. Since its launch in 2015 in Nairobi, followed by Mombasa, Uber has introduced four unique travel options. These include the popular UberX, and a few years ago, Uber localised its product offering to roll out UberCHAPCHAP and UberBODA. UberAssist, designed specifically for those with mobility needs, rounds out the available options.
“Coming to Kenya, we immediately had to adapt our product lines to better serve the community given Kenya’s robust and unique way of life. With UberCHAPCHAP and UberBODA, we offer not just an authentic Kenyan travel experience but also create a sustainable economic opportunity for drivers who already own these vehicles,” says Brian Njao, Head of Uber in East Africa.
Given the variety of options available for travel, Uber offers drivers a unique earning opportunity as they build their very own micro-business. With Partner Rewards, drivers are able to further reduce their running costs with additional discounts and benefits to earn more from each trip taken.
Safety as a standard
In the past six years, ride-hailing has seen tremendous growth in Kenya and has contributed to enhanced road safety and personal safety as people now prefer to get into a vehicle where they know that their driver has been vetted, can be identified easily, and each trip is traceable on GPS, backed by 24/7 in-app assistance. Uber has introduced the safety toolkit, which includes the in-app emergency button that connects the driver or rider to third-party security or medical assistance and Trusted Contacts that allow riders to share their trip status with up to 5 selected contacts.
As travel still proves to be an integral part of any economic robustion, Uber has further developed safety mechanisms in response to COVID-19, including a pre-trip safety checklist, world-first mask recognition technology and financial assistance to drivers who had been placed on quarantine by a medical professional.
Investing in East Africa
Uber is now available in three countries across the East African region, including Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, offering a bevvy of product-line services aimed to assist in creating lifestyle solutions that work. With over 12 000 active drivers across Kenya alone, Uber creates a platform for flexible work and more earning opportunities. To ensure drivers could still earn during the pandemic, the app launched Uber Connect in Kenya and Uganda, which provides affordable same-day delivery of specific goods that can be used by both businesses and everyday locals.
Drivers have a number of established channels available for their individual concerns such as 24/7 in-app messages and support, emails, blog posts, while having access to an emergency button to connect them to a third-party medical or security outlet for immediate assistance.
Uber Eats launched in Kenya in 2018 and has become a fan-favourite delivery option, with orders contactlessly delivered in under 30 minutes. The app has also provided a unique earning platform for both delivery-drivers and restaurants across Nairobi and Mombasa, especially during the pandemic by the use of a virtual kitchen. By serving their customer-base only via delivery, it limits their running cost and increases their order in-take.
“East Africa is at the forefront of a transition that will see its cities catalyse technology to provide smarter solutions for locals. Uber plans to further invest across the region to ensure that we continue to provide affordable, safe and convenient travel and lifestyle options to locals,” concluded Njao.
In just six years, one app has already revolutionised the way Africa travels, and with more on the way it’s an exciting time to see just how far logistics can develop thanks to technology.
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