Kamal Budhabhatti, Craft Silicon CEO, at the Little Cab launch
There was a time when Uber was on its way to becoming a monopoly in the taxi service industry in Kenya. This was because with its deep pockets there was no other taxi company that could effectively compete with them. This situation even led to protests by the kawaida taxi drivers who even went to the extent of burning an Uber.
This was until Craft Silicon a Kenyan technology partnered with Safaricom to launch Little Cab back in July this year. With the launch, Uber now had a formidable competitor because as we know Safaricom is a force to reckon with. Little Cab was to soon after to change its name to Little Ride after they lost rights to the name to an opportunistic Kenyan.
Soon after the launch, Uber already sensing the threat from Little Ride decided to slash it’s cost per kilometer to Ksh. 35 down from Ksh. 60 as compared to Little’s cost per kilometer of Ksh. 55. This reduction in price did not go well with the partners because they had to do more trips to make the same amount of money which led to some drivers operating both Uber and Little Ride. Uber drivers also became mischievous preferring to take longer routes in order to charge more. Generally, the quality of Uber services went downhill from there with numerous complaints from customers.
Little Ride has now raised the ante in the fight for dominance with Uber by reducing their rates by a third to set the cost per kilometer at Ksh. 30. This becomes the lowest cab fare in the country. This rate will be effective from 4 pm today.
With this new development, we are waiting to see what Uber’s response will be. The upside is that it is the customer who will benefit from this price war.