In Kenya, the Uber business has radically changed the taxi industry. A classic case study is Paul the Uber Driver, who operates from Kawangware in Nairobi. Initially, Paul was hired as a driver. He had an Uber account, but no vehicle of his own. He worked with other people’s cars for a while. For this he had to share his income with the owner of the car. For petrol and car repairs.
In the beginning the business was very good, because there were only a few Uber drivers on the platform, but with time the number grew and every unemployed person thought about an Uber business. In no time at all, the platform could no longer accommodate new drivers as it had reached a ceiling. As a result, in the absence of Uber accounts, some users sold their accounts to new drivers with cars.
Paul was one of them. He also wanted to benefit from such a sale as he would not have his own car in the foreseeable future and would always have to share his salary. But even before this happened, the company CMC Kenya (an automobile assembly plant) had a business idea. They offered drivers without a car of their own to take over a vehicle and pay for it. At some point it would be their car.
Now Paul had a reason not to sell his account. He was interested in this offer and visited the company. His profile fit the offerer. Since other securities were not to be expected, it was decided on the basis of the number of previous trips and evaluations of App-user that Paul was qualified. He got a Suzuki Alto 800, a three-cylinder motor car with low fuel consumption and suitable for many trips. For tours from the centre of Nairobi to the airport Paul can estimate about 10 €. In total his fuel costs amount to 30% of his income. Sometimes a little more. He assumes that his car will be paid off in five years.
His customers come from all walks of life and some of them visit his services again and again without even registering with the Uber-App platform. He has built good customer relationships. He believes he can do good business without the Uber app because he has a huge customer base.
In addition to Uber, taxify also consolidates his business and becomes a strong player in the transportation industry.
The only challenge with taxi apps is that they only allow brand new cars and exclude people with vehicles that aren’t really new. A problem that few middle or lower class people cannot solve.
The life of some Kenyans has indeed changed fundamentally. In a country where is no public transport like in Europe, transport costs are enormous. Uber also lowers prices for monopolies.