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Uber plans to launch a minibus service in Kenya

Uber has planned to create a minibus transport service to help curb transportation challenge in Kenya.

Uber logo

This follows a transportation challenge some Kenyan citizens face. They often use crowded minibuses, known as matatus, as their main form of transport around the city.

According to Loic Amado Uber’s East Africa General Manager, “Uber wants to be part of the transportation ecosystem in Nairobi and matatus are a big part of how people move around”.

He added that the feature would be available on the Uber app for customers to be able to use it.

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Uber, was launched in Kenya four years ago and currently has 6,000 active drivers, nonetheless it is pursuing an effort to have an advantage over rival operators in the East African nation, such as Estonian ride-hailer Taxify and Little, set up by Nairobi-based Craft Silicon.

Amado said that once the app is proven in Nairobi, Uber could be expanded to Kenya’s neighbours, such as Uganda’s capital Kampala and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The idea would be to apply it to vehicles carrying up to 16 people, he added.

He further explained that, the new Uber product will allow customers to track and trace the minibuses.

The company already operates Uber Pool and Uber Express Pool in cities such as London and New York, so taxi drivers can carry more passengers heading to the same or nearby destinations.

The Kenyan government’s stand

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The government announced this week measures to bring more order to the matatu industry, seeking to curb traffic violations and overcrowding.

Matatu drivers’ view

Jackson Onyinkwa, chairman of one of Nairobi’s Matatu associations said the intervention would help reduce idle time at the bus stop during slow hours. His association has 46 vehicles.

Meanwhile, some of Matatu drivers staged a one-day strike in protest, but returned to work after 2,000 were detained by the authorities.

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