Copycat apps affect Nakuru Taxi hailing business

When Wasili Cabs launched in Nakuru, we all signed in relief. We could now get to our destinations comfortably and at affordable rates. Finally, we had a Nakuru Taxi-hailing app of our own.

The Wasili Cabs quickly became popular. They were our own version of Uber. We embraced Wasili, we downloaded the App. We were proud of Wasili and we always advised (and still do) our visitors to use Wasili once they landed in Nakuru.

If we said Wasili revolutionalized travel in Nakuru, we wouldn’t be lying. Today, you’ll find a Wasili Cab at every corner of Nakuru and surrounding areas. Not only did the users embrace it, but vehicles owners also saw an opportunity to earn. In hundreds, they bought cars and signed them up for Wasili. Needless to say, lots of jobs were created for drivers.

However, as with every good idea, other taxi-hailing apps quickly came into the scene. Other investors hastily came on board to take advantage of the market that Wasili had cracked. Today, Nakuru has almost other 10 taxi-hailing apps after Wasili launched.

Other Nakuru Taxi-hailing apps

Apart from Wasili, which has so far proved to be the most stable app, other Taxi-hailing apps in Nakuru include; Safiri, Flexx, Kori, Vipy, Bomba, Mtaani and Mega.

Unfortunately, with the coming on board of so many taxi operators with their other apps, the market is no longer as lucrative. Car owners are barely breaking even. Drivers have started grumbling due to low business which translates to low income. Some car owners are already withdrawing their cars and removing the branding on them. All this because the supply has gone higher than the demand.

In an earlier interview with Wasili founder Tim Kamanga several weeks ago, it had revealed that they had put a ceiling on the cars they could admit.

“We never wanted a situation when we had too many cars and few clients. We wanted to strike a balance to serve the customers satisfactorily and still make it worthwhile for the investors. Instead, we opted to venture in other towns,” the co-founder had revealed.

The balance they had tried to maintain has however been spoilt. There are now too many cars chasing the handful of clients available. The reality as of now is that the taxi-hailing sector is highly crowded in Nakuru. Only the innovative will survive.

Until the advent of Wasili, Taxi-hailing apps that had been tried in Nakuru had all failed. Even Uber had made an entry but hastily left after failing to crack the market.

Wasili Cabs – Cracking the stubborn Nakuru Taxi market

After a hugely successful 8 months run in Nakuru Town, Wasili Cabs has this week launched in Eldoret Town.

Wasili Cabs first launched in Nakuru on 27th June 2018. The founders are now hoping to replicate the success it has achieved in the Flamingo county in the home of champions.

“We came into this market at the right time. We offered a service that people needed and the pricing was ok. This has been the secret of our success,” says Tim a co-founder of Wasili Cabs.

Speaking during an entrepreneurs forum in Nakuru Town last night, the soft-spoken Tim reveals that the idea of the Wasili cabs hailing app was born out of a conversation with friends.

“I was brought up in Shabaab estate in Nakuru. One day we were walking with friends when the idea of launching a classy, comfortable and affordable means of travel came,” reveals Tim.

It was almost a year later that Tim and his friend Mark decided to implement the idea. Tim was then working for the technology firm, Oracle Systems, and his friend was in car imports.

While Tim was tasked with developing the app, Mark would procure the cars.

Startup Grind Nakuru

As he related and fielded questions from eager listeners, Tim explained how they had chosen to go by a specific type of car.

“We wanted a low consuming car. Something that could charge the same as a tuk-tuk but give a smooth ride unlike the bumpy tuk-tuk ride,” Tim told Charles Mburu the convenor of the entrepreneurs’ forum, Startup Grind.

Startup Grind which was launching in Nakuru for the first time is a forum for successful entrepreneurs to interact with others and share the stories of their entrepreneurial journey.

“At startup grind, our core values are making friends, not connections, helping others before helping ourselves and sharing,” says Charles. The concept of Startup Grind is owned by Google to support businesses.

“Every month we’ll be hosting a successful entrepreneur who will share with others his secrets of success and the challenges they face. This way, we can learn from each other, support each other and mentor each other,” said Charles Mburu during the launch.

Cracking a stubborn market

Despite their mercurial success, a lot of people expected Wasili cabs to fail. Their prices were ridiculously low, the concept was relatively new in Nakuru and there were plenty of other alternatives clients could choose from.

“Nakuru town is teeming with motorcycles, tuk-tuks and the traditional taxis. With our low rates, no one expected us to survive. Not even our relatives and friends,” says Tim with a smile.

After the launch at the end of June last year, they had only two cars. Mark the co-founder was one of the drivers and was two days before they got the first client.

“We were overly excited. We knew we could make it but that was just me and my partner. We had faith in our idea but no one else did,” he says. When be eventually quit his job at Oracle, everyone thought he had lost it.

Eight months down, Wasili cabs is now an indelible mark in Nakuru Town and the surrounding areas. You can hardly walk or drive a few metres without seeing a wasili cab. Their success has spawned several copycats but Tim is confident of retaining the top position.

“We are always striving to give the customer the best experience. We are promising quality and striving to deliver that,” says the entrepreneur.

His greatest satisfaction comes the impact he’s making.

“It’s not all about making money. It’s the knowledge that we’re providing a source of income to over 150 families directly that gives me the satisfaction,” says the wasili cabs founder.

The launch in Eldoret is just the beginning. The determined duo or Tim and Mark is determined to be a national brand. In addition, he promises that the people of Nakuru to stay on the lookout for more exciting services from them in the future.

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