Taxify, the most recent ride-hailing app to set up in Kampala, is offering sweeteners to drivers so they can stay online and pick up riders during the festive season. It is also looking to attract new drivers.
The driver’s promotion is the first promotion aimed at drivers, according to information available to this website.
It’s timing indicates that the app is coming around to one of the trickier features of operating such a business in Kampala; that of keeping drivers happy.
Shivachi Muleji, Taxify’s operating manager, says Taxify will compensate drivers who accept ten trips with Shs40,000. This is on top of their commission, which is 85% of fares from completed trips. This is so drivers can take more trips, he said.
A truism in service businesses is that the customer is the king. For a business to succeed, it must do whatever it takes to please the customer and keep them satisfied.
For ride-hailing apps like Uber or its ascendant rival, Taxify, customers are important, but the drivers are even more crucial.
While they obviously need customers to download their apps and use them to order rides, they also need drivers as much. One could say they need drivers more than they need customers if they are to stay afloat.
The app’s business model is connecting riders to drivers so they can be transported to set destinations. But the services do not employ the drivers.
Instead, the drivers sign on to be added to the app’s database so they can receive a rider’s request when they are online. The apps are essentially peer-to-peer operations, connecting those who need a service to those who can provide it for a commission.
Drivers make or break the service, as Taxify and Uber have discovered in due course.
When Uber launched in 2016, it offered generous incentives to drivers on top of a month-long discount for riders.
While it was not difficult for the app to attract riders – it is one of the most popular Silicon Valley apps, and found a virgin market – it had to give drivers a reason to register their cars instead of driving a ‘Special Hire’ cab, for example.
Taxify launched with Uber as a competitor, so the stakes – for attracting both riders and drivers – were higher.
While its discounts excited riders and saw many of them ordering for rides, they found that there were few drivers available to accept the requests. Those who did were always a good distance away.
Drivers, on the other hand, were not big fans of the discounts because they got less from finished trips – even though the app refunded the difference at the end of the week.
As a result, they were reluctant to take Taxify riders and, for some, to register. “I’ll only register for Taxify when their discounts end,” one driver, who always works with Uber, said.
Interestingly, Taxify charges the lowest commission of all ride-hailing apps. It takes only 15% from fares for delivered rides, compared to the industry standard of 20-25%.
Taxify is an international urban ride-sharing platform founded and headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia.
It operates in 20 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central America. Taxify is considered one of the fastest-growing ride-sharing platforms in Europe and Africa.
In Uganda, Taxify operates in Kampala, and officially launched at the end of October.