Online taxi hailing app Mondo Ride has launched a service that allows its customers to request for motorcycles, seeking to cash in on their growing popularity due to their ability to manoeuvre through traffic.
The Dubai-based Romania-founded company, which launched locally in January, rolled out the boda boda service last week charging customers Sh25 per kilometre in addition to a base fare of Sh50. The minimum charge for the service will be Sh100.
Mondo’s introduction of a motorcycle hailing option is expected to pile pressure on Safaricom-backed Sendy which also offers a similar service over and above regular taxis.
“We are onboarding riders. I cannot disclose any numbers as this is sensitive information,” Joar Lindh, Mondo Ride head of Africa, told the Business Daily in an interview last week.
Mr Lindh did not disclose how much commission it will be charging its riders, only indicating that the first three months will be free — a move meant to entice more motorcycle operators to sign up.
Mondo’s competitor Sendy charges users Sh200 for rides that are less than seven kilometres long with trips longer than that attracting a Sh30 per kilometre charge.
The company, which also has more than 1,000 company accounts in Nairobi and its environs, expanded services to Kisumu and Mombasa in August. Sendy contracts riders and drivers and connects them to customers via a marketplace.
Motorcycles have become highly popular mode of transport in major cities including Nairobi because they navigate through traffic jams much easier and faster than cars.
Their increased use in Nairobi has seen the operators clash with the county government which wants to ban them from ferrying passengers within the central business district.
BodApp, a purely motorcycle hailing app, was launched last month in partnership with Telkom Kenya. Baxi, an Indian on-demand motorcycle company has also announced that it plans to launch its services in the local market.
Ever since the advent of Uber in the Kenyan market in January 2015, Nairobi has witnessed increased activity and innovations in the taxi space.
Kenya Bus Service has for instance revealed plans to start a high-end hailing service that will include Mercedes and sport utility vehicles to cater for the untapped segment of the taxi business.
This increased activity has led to price war mainly pitting Mondo Ride against Uber, the San Francisco-based taxi hailing app which currently has more than 4,000 drivers in the country.
These lowered prices, and the resultant lower commissions, have forced the taxi hailing companies to develop new ideas and lower prices to attract customers.