Showfa, commission-free taxi app launches in Kenya

By Elijah Odhiambo

The taxi business in the country has received a major boost with the launch of a new subscription-based taxi-hailing app, Showfa.

On the new platform that was recently launched, cab drivers and motorbike riders will be required to pay a one-off daily or monthly subscription, unlike other platforms where they are charged a commission per trip.

Showfa drivers and riders will be required to pay a weekly or monthly fee of up to Ksh300.

Speaking during the launch of the app, the Company’s Business Development Director Dhruv Rajah noted that the new service is unique, arguing that drivers and riders are going to save more from it.

“We have done market research and what the riders and drivers tell us is that they pay too much and exorbitant fees in commissions to foreign companies. We want to change that, we want a platform where they can save more,” Rajah said.

The one-off weekly or monthly cost is a differentiator in the market, which has seen many taxi-hailing providers exit the business and lead strikes due to what they termed predatory commission from the service providers.

For the passengers, Rajah pointed out that it is safer, cheaper and reliable.

“This is a service that is commission-free service where the drivers and riders are empowered more, they earn more, we are working to ensure they get more money is saved,” he added.

The Trade, Investment and Industry CS, Moses Kuria affirmed that the government would support Showfa operations in the country since it puts the interests of the drivers and riders ahead.

He urged Kenyans to maximize the goldmine the country has for economic benefits.

“This is our oil, and this is our gold. We have done with the Mpesa, and we can do it again. Not just on software technology but also on all other technologies such as engineering technology, electric mobility, and all other emerging technologies,” the said.

Expected additional features on the App

In addition to the monetary friendliness of the platform, Showfa’s Business Development Director expressed confidence that the App would favourably compete with established firms,  adding that the platform will also launch ambulance services where customers can order rescue services through the application.

“We are working through some emergency services which we will announce very soon. We will have an application on the App where at the click of a button you can call an ambulance, and it will trigger the closest ambulance in your location,” Dhruv said.

Existing taxi operators in the country

In November last year, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) issued a list of the companies allowed to operate in the country, which comprised Kenyan company Little Limited which runs the Little Ride taxis, US company Uber and Estonian company Bolt.

A new player in the market is Yego Global, a Rwandan taxi operator.

NTSA in a follow-up notice also said another operator, Farasi Cabs, had fully complied with the stipulated licensing requirements and has been issued with a license.

Little Ride is charging a 15 percent commission per ride while Yego is the lowest at 12 percent.

Farasi has capped its rate at 15 percent against the recommended 18 percent.

Uber and Bolt recently slashed their commissions to 18 percent. Uber used to charge a 25 percent commission while Bolt was at 20 percent.


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