Bolt And Uber Go Head To Head As Both Firms Expand Services Across Africa
Bolt is set to roll out electric taxi options in South Africa four months after introducing e-bike food delivery services as part of its mission to expand across the continent rapidly.
The move comes amid plans by Uber to test a carpooling and rideshare service in Nairobi, with ideas to also roll it out in Ghana and Nigeria.
Bolt’s electric taxi option is part of the company’s “green category” initiative. The system lets riders only hail an electric or a hybrid vehicle – which is considered more environmentally friendly.
The firm already offers this service in Kenya, where it also runs e-bike food delivery. It now plans to launch e-mobility options for food delivery in Uganda and Tanzania.
It’s also taking on a unique venture and planning arrangements with banking institutions in its markets in Africa to help its drivers access to credit for purchasing electric vehicles, exploring other options away from its current scheme with leasing companies.
“We are looking to roll out a green taxi category in South Africa in the next few months and plan to roll out green categories in other African markets,” said Bolt’s regional director for Africa and the Middle East, Paddy Partridge.
“In East Africa, we see a lot of potential on the motorbike side, and especially for delivery. We plan to invest more in this direction as it also serves to eliminate the challenges associated with constantly fluctuating fuel prices, currently the most significant operating cost for our couriers,” he added.
What is uber doing?
Uber is set to launch its new ‘Pool Chance’ service in Kenya, enabling riders heading in the same direction to share the cost on their journey.
Riders have a chance of getting discounted rides if the driver picks up other passengers; otherwise, they’ll have to pay the regular fees they’d pay for an individual ride.
UberPool negotiates a specific carpool rate for the rider regardless of who else gets into the vehicle.
The Pool Chance trip option is available on the budget service, Chap Chap in Nairobi; in the populous Nigerian city of Lagos and Ghana’s capital Accra, it will be accessible on the UberX category, according to Techcrunch.
According to Uber’s app, Pool Chance will reduce the cost of rides by up to 30%, making Uber’s journeys even more affordable and accessible to users.
An Uber spokesperson confirmed to the outlet that the rollout is part of a pilot that it plans to offer more broadly but is still waiting for the result of the smaller test.