Kenyan company Virscom on Wednesday launched the country's most affordable taxi app, ShareCABTM, similar to the U.S. taxi-hailing firm Uber. (File picture: Reuters)
Kenyan company Virscom on Wednesday launched the country's most affordable taxi app, ShareCABTM charging drivers zero per cent commission. 

Virscom Founder and CEO, Mwakio Ngale said drivers will earn more, but riders don't pay more, with an additional cab sharing facility that saves riders up to 50 percent of fare. Ngale said riders get discounts of up to 50 per cent by sharing rides, putting ShareCABTM into new space for competitive pricing, from base fares that are anyway pegged at industry norms. 

"ShareCABTM is a state-of-the-art app, offering every facility in Kenya for app-based taxis, plus new models on ride sharing, zero commission so that drivers earn far more per ride, and a green motivation in reducing rides through sharing," Ngale said in a statement issued in Nairobi. 

ShareCABTM, by launching the service, joins other service providers including U.S. taxi-hailing firm Uber and Little in the market, causing excitement and anxiety in equal measure. 

ShareCABTM is initially being launched in Nairobi and across Kenya over the next six months. Within a year, the app will expand to international markets, including South Africa, Nigeria, San Francisco, Dubai and Toronto. 

The launch comes at a time when taxi drivers have expressed increasing discontent by the very large commissions taken out of their fares by other taxi Apps. 

Drivers in Nairobi have also suffered in the last two years as taxi fares have fallen. Instead of taking commissions, the App takes a flat rate membership fee of about 20 U.S. dollars a month from drivers, who typically earn from 400 dollars and upwards, making for a fee equivalent to 5 per cent. 

ShareCABTM, which was built by a team of Kenyan developers, also offers new features offered by none of the existing international apps, including an SOS button, that instantly calls police and loved ones if riders see or experience anything untoward during a ride. 

"Watching how other taxi Apps were evolving, we were struck by the need to add extra security to our own App, over and beyond the map tracking and driver vetting, as a facility that could get instant help in the case of any issue at all," said Mwakio. ShareCABTM, which is available on Google play store, is user friendly and allows riders to choose either to share a ride to get large discounts, or to ride solo for personal comfort. 

- Xinhua