Safaricom’s Little Cab launches into Uganda market

Little Cab, the Safaricom-backed ride-hailing company, officially launched in Kampala on Thursday. It is one of the latest cab-hailing apps in the Uganda market.

The company is one of Uber’s major competitors in Kenya, the home of the app.

Drivers have signed up for the service in the last two months, with most of them coming from Taxify and Uber. Many drivers in Uganda operate with several apps – sometimes all available apps in the market: Taxify, Uber and Mondo.

Little Cab joins at a time when both Taxify and Uber which have dominated the Kampala market have diversified their products to add UberBODA and TaxifyBODA.

Some drivers have told this site that they have had several cancellations on their apps because riders called to say they wanted a boda, not a car.

The launch was slated to happen on 15th May but did not. Sources close to the company said that the driver sign-ups were still low. But when we contacted the Kampala office, they said they had “internal processes that were not complete” and referred us to Nairobi.

Efforts to reach the Nairobi office have remained futile.

Kamal Budhabatti, the brain behind Little Cab and chief executive of Craft Silicon said that he expected to secure at least 3000 drivers in Kampala in the first three months of operation.

Little Cab’s fares are much higher than the competitors, with minimum fare at Shs4500 (Taxify: Shs4000 and Uber: Shs3000). Base fare is Shs1100 and riders pay Shs750 per kilometer travelled and Shs150 per minute.

Little Taxify Uber
Base fare Shs1100 Shs800 Shs1100
Per min Shs150 Shs140 Shs150
Per km Shs750 Shs500 Shs750
Minimum fare Shs4500 Shs4000 Shs3000
Commission 15% 15% 25%

While rates are continually decreasing to attract more riders, rate reduction has increased dissatisfaction among drivers. Little expects to be more favourable to both drivers and riders, offering drivers discounted fuel and car maintenance and taking commissions lower than the competitors.

Little, which has also expanded into the Nigeria market, has an ambitious plan to be in 30+ countries over the next five years.

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