Uber Tests Low-Cost Rides In Nairobi

Uber Data Helps Lending Access

Startup firm Uber is testing a new service in Nairobi, Kenya, that will charge a cheap rate for ridesharing customers who want to use its service for quick errands.

According to a Reuters report, the new service is geared toward customers who look for a deal on their rides. Such users will now see stickers on its cars reading “Uber Chap Chap,” which translates to “Arrive Faster, Save Money.” 

“It’s about giving people choices,” said Loic Amado, Uber’s East Africa general manager. “Kenyans specifically are very open to adapting to new things and are very creative in using Uber for different things.”

The pilot program is available for trips downtown or into adjacent neighborhoods. It began three weeks ago.

Kenya is the second largest Uber market in sub-Saharan Africa, with South Africa as its largest. Nairobi is the first city in Africa in which it is testing this lower cost option for customers who need a quick trip. If the pilot is well received, it could introduce the Chap Chap service across Nairobi and in the capitals of Uganda and Tanzania, Amado explained.

The pilot was prompted by a realization on the part of Uber that people in the city were using its ridesharing service for errands, including sending packages from one office to another and taking trips to the bank.

“There wasn’t a price point that was so affordable or attractive to do these shorter errands,” Amado said.

Another potential market for cheap rides could be commuters in the city who take minibusses for their commute but use Uber for emergencies. Middle-class Kenyans, however, may not be so keen to use the new service as they see their vehicles as an extension of who they are. One 45-year civil servant told Reuters she wouldn’t be “caught dead in one of those [rideshare cars].”


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