The mobile application Uber was considered a game changer because it was one of the inspirations for the sharing economy, where people could start business using their own phone and property. Soon many similar companies such as Lyft popped up all over the world. Uber is even in neighboring Kenya and over 66 countries and 507 cities worldwide. Many other companies have replicated its business model, a trend that has come to be referred to as ‘Uberification’. A person simply downloads the application and then when they want a ride pushes a “trip request,” button. The request is sent to a diver. These drivers are independent contractors using their own car. The price is flashed to the potential customer along with the estimated time of arrival. If the customer accepts the terms the driver comes to them. The transaction is usually then completed electronically as the app automatically calculates the fare and transfers the payment to the driver. Habtamu Tadesse is co founder of ZayRide. He is attempting to replicate an app similar to Uber in order to begin ride sharing services in Addis Ababa. Capitals’ Tesfaye Getnet sat down with Habtamu to learn more about this new taxi service. Excerpts.
Capital: What motivated you to start an application similar to Uber for Ethiopia?
Habtamu Tadesse: The inspiration to start ZayRide in Addis Ababa came to me when I saw how difficult the transportation situation was. Each time a person stands in line waiting hours for a taxi, valuable time is wasted that could be used on productive activities like school, work, health needs, or family. Crime is also a concern for pedestrians, drivers and riders especially at night. Taxies do not have numbers, drivers do not have identification and some at night do not even have legitimate driving licenses. Other smoke, drink or chew chat while driving. Drivers have to worry about safety as well since they never know who they are picking up. There are even incidents of taxi drivers being killed and many of those cases remain unsolved. ZayRide will help improve safety because all drivers and riders are registered. We know who they are; we have their pictures, phone number, and home address. This will make our platform the safest in the country. Taxies can at times be inconvenient as well. Taxis usually wait for customers on main roads or near hotels and nightclubs. However 60% of contract taxi users in Addis Ababa are found in neighborhoods. Often for this reason, finding a contract taxi is a matter of luck. ZayRide is here to change that by making it more convenient than ever. Requesting a taxi is now easier than making a call. Taxi fees are not regulated or standardized so it is up to the customer to negotiate the price with taxi drivers every time they need one. The way you dress, your race, the weather, the time of day, the traffic conditions, affect your fare. With ZayRide, riders’ pay based on distance traveled so they will always pay the market fare. There is no room for ripping customers off.
Read more at: Capital Ethiopia
ZayRide: Facebook Page