Kenyan company Virscom has launched, ShareCAB, a taxi hailing app that charges drivers zero per cent commission.
With ShareCAB, drivers pay zero per cent in commission, and also earn more as riders share, gaining up to 38 per cent on combining passengers on the same route, even as the passengers themselves travel for less. Instead of taking commissions, the App takes a flat rate membership fee of Sh2,000 a month from drivers.
“My motivation was to create a platform where costs can be drastically reduced for customers and increased for drivers, in a combination that is smart and improved on our carbon footprint. At the end of the day, every shared ride will make a better environment for our kids,” said Virscom Founder and CEO, Mwakio Ngale.
The launch comes at a time when taxi drivers have expressed increasing discontent by the very large commissions taken out of their fares by other taxi Apps. Drivers in Nairobi have also suffered in the last two years as taxi fares tumbled.
“No taxi App can deliver the breadth of drivers for any rider who books a call, if the drivers themselves are losing money or earning too little to respond to bookings,” said Mwakio.
“For a taxi App to serve riders with prompt pick-ups and motivated drivers, drivers themselves need to be properly rewarded, and riders need to enjoy competitive fares,” he added.
ShareCAB, which was built by a team of Kenyan developers, also offers new features offered by none of the existing international apps, including an SOS button that instantly calls police and loved ones if riders see or experience anything untoward during a ride.
“Watching how other taxi Apps were evolving, we were struck by the need to add extra security to our own App, over and beyond the map tracking and driver vetting, as a facility that could get instant help in the case of any issue at all,” said Mwakio.
ShareCAB, which is available on Google play store, is user friendly and allows riders to choose either to share a ride to get large discounts, or to ride solo for personal comfort.
Determine the Destination
“If you choose to Share, the in-App features gives the first customer the privilege to select a driver and determine the destination, as well as who to share the ride with after a quick view of the drivers profile and other customers profile during the shared ride request. The selections take seconds and saves up to half a fare while leaving speed unimpaired,” said Mwakio.
In order to guarantee near zero security issues for both riders and customers, ShareCAB has put in place a very stringent vetting program that ensures they have the right type of drivers operating on the platform.
“We collect the drivers’ copies of Certificate of Good Conduct, KRA certificate, national ID and passport size photographs. We have also partnered with an agency that assists us with the drivers’ background checks,” said Mwakio.
For riders, the app allows them to vet other ride-share customers, so that if a rider sees a profile they find worrying, they can deny the share request and it’s queued to a different rider.
ShareCAB is initially being launched in Nairobi, and across Kenya over the next six months. Within a year, the app will expand to international markets, including South Africa, Nigeria, San Francisco, Dubai and Toronto.