Little, a taxi hailing firm backed by Kenya’s largest telecommunication company Safaricom, has extended its service to Kisumu, the country’s third-largest city.
Little hopes to capture a greater share of the Kenyan market by offering cheaper fares to commuters residing in cities other than Nairobi and Mombasa, the country’s two largest and most developed cities.
Kisumu, a lakeside city, is home to a poorly structured cab system as traditional taxi riders and makeshift cabs are commonplace. But Safaricom’s head of commercial operations Fred Kio confirmed that Little has a strategic plan to transform the taxi market in Kisumu by offering affordable cabs with customer friendly drivers and a seamless cab hailing process.
The recent digitization of cab hailing and the subsequent introduction of affordable cab services by Uber and Little has threatened the existence of traditional taxi services and aggrieved traditional cab owners, raising tension between both parties.
Safaricom is aware a possible rift between Little and traditional taxi drivers and is keen to douse any tension before officially launching.
“We are not coming to stop the traditional taxi business in Kisumu. We want to show them the value of partnering with Safaricom. We are giving them an opportunity to get into areas the drivers never used to go by connecting them to the corporate world,” said Mr Kio.
Already, 60 drivers have registered to join the Little team in Kisumu. It is targeting a team of 300 drivers in the coming weeks.