Uber’s entry level-luxurious service UberSELECT will from the 5th of October operate in Nairobi to bring customers premium and pricier rides.
The new ride service will operate alongside Uber X.
In case you are unaware, Uber has, over time, introduced other variants to its services since it launched operations in various parts of the world. In Kenya, the cab-hailing service has already introduced us to Uber X, Uber XL, UberCHOPPER, UberPOOL, UberSUV, UberTAXI, and now UberSELECT.
In other parts of the world where the taxi industry is more developed, riders have additional options including UberAUTO, Uber Freight, and UberGO.
Uber drive partners are not exactly happy with this move since they feel that it opens the market for everyone else and this may mean less money for them.
The American-based taxi-haling company has defended its decision to introduce various variants to its services by insisting that they are giving riders various options to choose from.
Perhaps, the Uber-Old Mutual partnership that offered financial management skills will come in handy for drivers. Hoping they were taught how to make do with what is available, however little (no pun intended).
Uber General Manager for East Africa Loic Amado said that Uber is all about rider choice. He added that the inspiration behind UberSELECT was the idea that customers should be presented with more traveling options. He also noted that the new service was ideal for special events such as business meetings and date nights.
Competition in the ride-sharing industry is also likely to have pushed Uber to introduce other options. Notable competitors are Safaricom’s Little, MondoRide, Taxify, and Maramoja. Riders have been opting for other ride-sharing services especially due to frequent driver-partner strikes and fare hikes. The diversification is therefore seen as a strategy to net more riders.
UberSELECT is the apt alternative for riders who want to enjoy luxury, especially during special occasions. This will be possible courtesy of the carefully chosen cars and highly-rated drivers. The cab-hailing company says that the “stylish” rides will accommodate 1 to 4 people per ride.
Base fare: Ksh. 100
Price per KM: Ksh. 43
Minimum fare: Ksh. 300
Cancellation fee: Ksh. 200
According to Amado, the UberSELECT fare was determined by the company’s pricing model that has been applied in over 600 cities. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration are driver partner economics, competition, and local market conditions.
Of course, Uber has to be careful on how they deal with its driver partners considering their not so good relationship in the past. Also, the price wars with other local players especially Safaricom’s Little makes Uber more aware that competition is out to interrupt the dominance it has been enjoying since its entry into the Kenyan market.
The company has been a game changer since entry into the country despite the hurdles. The recent selfie identity check for drivers is just one among many Uber app updates that the company has introduced in a bid to enhance rider experience. We were used to the old taxis that charged exorbitant fees yet the experience was barely different from that of public transport vehicles. The old school taxi system has since been phased out. Thankfully.
In other markets, UberSELECT uses car brands like BMW, Mercedes, and Audi; we cannot confirm that these brands will be available in Kenya. However, riders should expect luxury cars for their rides. UberSELECT has already gone live and Uber describes it as a “low-cost ride with an added touch of luxury”.
Finally, it will be interesting to see how Uber X and UberSELECT compete in the Kenyan market.