TRENDS

The rise and rise of digital Tuk Tuk in Kenya

Egypt is the pioneer of e-Tuk Tuk in Africa, with the service launched in 2015

In Summary
  • Little app’s clients get the opportunity to enjoy low-cost rides starting from Sh25 per kilometer.

  • Dar Es Salaam was the first city in East Africa to receive uberPOA.
Kamal Budhabhatti, Chairman Craft Silicon making his speech in Kisumu during the launch of Safaricom powered Little cab service in the region on Tuesday
Kamal Budhabhatti, Chairman Craft Silicon making his speech in Kisumu during the launch of Safaricom powered Little cab service in the region on Tuesday

The taxi-hailing business in Kenya has morphed in a span of less than a decade, starting with cars, bikes and now Tuk Tuks. 

Local ride-hailing app Little is the latest to enter the market, launching  Tuk Tuk taxis in the coastal city of Mombasa in an emerging trend in the digital transport system that was started by Uber in 2018. 

The foray into the sector will see Little app’s clients get the opportunity to enjoy low-cost rides starting from Sh25 per kilometer.

According to Little CEO Kamal Budhabatti, Tuktuk is the most used mode of transport in Mombasa, with most commuters counting on its affordability, reliability, and flexibility in accessing interior parts of the town.

“We currently have basic, ladybug, comfort and comfort plus... tuk-tuk will be in the economy category. We want to reduce the hustle of search by offering clients the peace of just ordering one at the comfort of their home,” Kamal said. 

Little Tuk Tuk will be included as a category within the app that can be downloaded directly from App Store for iOS users and Play Store for Android users.

Users can then select the category from the app when requesting a ride and a Tuk Tuk driver will be there within minutes.

Currently, Little app has a myriad of products on its platform that includes Little Basic for smaller-sized cars, Little Boda, Little Parcel- available to both retail and corporate clients in East Africa.

Since its launch in 2016, Little controls a sizable share of Kenya’s transport market.

Sendy Ltd's Transport Vice President Chris Nyaga and ARC Ride's Director of Business Development Bede Hesmondhalgh during the signing of the electric vehicle fleet.
Image: HANDOUT

The company has in the recent past intensified geo-expansion opening up services across major cities in Africa.

This Month, the company availed services in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia targeting one of Africa’s populous cities. 

Little is taking a cue from Uber which also chose Kenya's coastal city as its launch pad for the e-Tuk Tuk services. 

Dubbed uberPOA, the service provides citizens of Mombasa a safe, reliable and affordable option to move from one place to another on a Tuk Tuk by using Uber's technology.

Dar Es Salaam was the first city in East Africa to receive uberPOA.

uberPOA,  which means cool in Swahili, runs alongside uberX and will follow the same strict safety measures applied to all Uber options.

With Uber's technology, it is possible to focus on safety for riders and drivers before, during, and after every trip.

Riders are also able to see all uberPOA driver details, such as their name, photo, and license plate number.

They are also able to see whether others have had a good experience with uberPOA drivers and can contact customer support via the in-app help feature if there are any issues related to a trip.

In July, the last mile delivery firm, Sendy launched its first electric vehicle fleets in a bid to address zero-carbon transportation in Nairobi.

The Kenyan logistics firm partnered with electric vehicle provider ARC to roll out 3-wheeler electric vehicles (E3’s/ tuk-tuks) for the last-mile delivery solution.

According to Sendy, the main goal is to help reduce carbon footprint in the county, a move that has been carried out by a number of ride-hailing

The deal between Sendy and ARC will see four electric tuk-tuks procured for the 2-month pilot project duration. Sendy will look to get more vehicles by the end of this year as they spread the service across Nairobi.

The decision by the company to go for electric tuk-tuks has been associated with a low number of big electric trucks or mini-vans that could be costly to operate.

Moreover, the firm believes that E3s are effective in reaching most of the cities due to narrow streets.

Egypt is the pioneer of e-Tuk Tuk in Africa, with the service launched in 2015.  

Global trends

According to the World Bank, Egypt's population is estimated at 98.42 million as of 2018. Regular means of transportation, such as personal vehicles, traditional taxi services and community transport services like mini-buses, tuk-tuks and motorbikes no more suffice the requirements of the country.

Along with this, the traffic situation has worsened over the years with an increase in the number of personal vehicles.

Globally, India and Thailand are leaders in the e-Tuk Tuk market that seems to be growing an alarming rate. 

Southeast Asia's ride-hailing market more than doubled in two years to some $5 billion in 2017 and it's expected to reach $20 billion by 2025, with Indonesia set to account for some 40 percent of it, according to research done by Google and Temasek.