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Understanding Safaricom’s New Cab Service, Little Cab

by Femme Staff
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As you may be aware by now, Safaricom, in partnership with Software company Craft Silicon have come up with a taxi hailing app – Little Cab. The tech behind Little Cab is created by Craft Silicon –  a software company that mostly offers financial solutions for banks, supermarkets, SMEs etc.

The taxi hailing service officially launches today but it has been operation in already though not for long. Here are a few features of the app, some of which may or may not mean trouble for the leading taxi hailing service in the country – Uber. Uber has been in the market since beginning of last year and despite challenges here and there, it can clearly be described as a success.

According to those who have used the cabs, not all the features are active as yet but when operations are completely developed, there will be the following features. We’re yet to use the service and we’ll do a full review when we do. Some of these features are available already but according to those who have already used the service, some are not fully developed.

Lady Bug feature – There will be a sufficient dedicated pool of lady drivers and clients can opt for a lady driver if they want. Ladies can book a lady driver any time but men can only book a lady driver between 8am and 6pm.

Tourist Mode – It will have a tourist mode. When this is enabled, it allows for landmarks to pop up on phone during the trip. Tourist mode is optional.

Inclusion – The cabs are good, roadworthy and approved by NTSA. Year of manufacture requirements have been adjusted to accommodate older vehicles. Other than the lady bug feature mentioned above, Little Cabs also has basic and comfort modes. The condition of the car will determine whether it falls under basic or comfort and fares under basic will be lower.

At the moment Little cab is only working on Android, but will later be available on iOS and even on USSD so clients do not necessarily have to have smart phones to hail a cab.

When one orders a ride, they’ll see the car number, colour of the car and can call the driver from the app.

Share Trip Feature – You can share trip details with friends and relatives who can be able to track at any one time how you’re moving. Good for safety.

There will be a corporate ride option where ride settlement will be between the company and little cab.

You can book a ride in advance. Say you’re going to the airport at 4am, you do not have to wake up at that time to order a ride. You can book one the night before.

The app on the drivers’ end will be zero rated. Drivers are available online 24/7 and will not have to purchase data. All drivers will have a 4G smartphone which will be replaced every 2 years.

Drivers will need a PSV licence and PSV insurance. They will be background checked and evaluated before being accepted into the system.

Once the ride starts, clients can see their bill as it runs.

All cabs will have free WiFi and the WiFi password will be the client’s phone number. You’ll only need to sign into WiFi once, after which it will pick automatically from then on.

Payment will be via credit cards, debit cards, m-pesa, bonga points, cash and bank transfers. In the event that you pay cash and the driver does not have change, the balance can just left in your account for later use.

There will be live traffic updates. So clients can have the choice to change route after they see the traffic situation in real time.

There are many features that will draw users to the service, top among them being that it is cheaper that Uber. For Little Cab, the minimum fare is around Kshs.270 while that of Uber is Kshs.300.

Here are Little Cab’s fares against Uber’s Kshs.60 per km and Kshs.4 per minute. Uber has a base rate fare of Kshs.100 but Little Cab does not have a base rate.

  • Basic: Ksh. 50 per kilometre and Ksh. 4 per minute.
  • Comfort and Lady Bug: Ksh. 55 per kilometre and Ksh. 4 per minute.

What I can foresee being my personal favourite other than the Lady Bug feature is the absence of surge fares which have seen me once pay Kshs.3,300 from Sankara to Carnivore with Uber. Little Cab fares have nothing like surge pricing.

Something that will make Little Cab more attractive to drivers is that the service takes 15% of driver revenue as opposed to Uber which takes between 20% and 25%.

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