Mobile taxi service, Uber has launched in two African cities this week, Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja and Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city.
Uber offers a mobile service, allowing clients to submit a trip request via their mobile phones. The request is then transmitted to the closest Uber driver in the client’s proximity.
This taxi service which seems relatively easy has come under scrutiny in Africa, especially in Kenya. Protests have occurred, some quite violent against Uber’s service in Kenya. The most recent being by Kenyan taxi drivers who felt disadvantaged that an American company was coming to their country to send them out of business.
When Uber launches in a city, they pick “Rider Zeros” who are usually the first to use their service in the city. In Mombasa, Uber picked DJ Lenium and Miss Tourism Mombasa Tima Keilah.
In Abuja the team picked 5 people including Adama Indimi who is a humanitarian; CEO and co-founder of Play Entertainment Network, Charles Okpaleke; Salamander Cafe owner, Sal Gbaja; Pro photographer George Okoro; CEO of Dzyn, Ogwa Iweze.
The team is also offering free rides for 6 days and of course terms and conditions do apply. In Abuja, the ride must be under N3000. It also must start and end under the Abuja coverage.
In Mombasa the free rides start at 7am on 23 March until midnight on 28 March. The rides are free as far as it’s under 1500 shillings. Also they are only valid for trips that begin and end in Mombasa.
Critics are pessimistic but quite curious as to how Uber will fare in these two cities. While Uber picked up in Nigeria’s populous city , Lagos some are skeptical the service won’t farewell in the country’s capital which has far cheaper taxi rates.
Also, Mombasa being a big tourist destination might take a liking to Uber but this is still quite debatable considering its less than positive reception in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
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