SafeBoda knock-off, Dial Jack, launches in Uganda

Dial Jack, a SafeBoda knock-off, has today officially launched its operation in the Ugandan market. The Boda-hailing company that describes itself as an "aggregator" currently has an Android application where one can be able to access their ride services.

In a press release Dial Jack sent out, it refers to itself as the "only company offering a hail model for its customers". The company also pointed out "personal accident insurance" and "'recognition initiatives" such as "funding of permit costs" as the edge it has over the existing comparison.

Brenda, the company's social media manager also re-echoed the same message in a conversation we had.

The company was founded by life and business coach Jacob Mathew, according to Brenda. A twitter account which I suspect belongs to Jacob Mathew tweeted - through Instagram - last year that "Dial Jack... Coming to Uganda."

No further details were revealed about the investors behind the company and the management. Though, it's clear the founder, Jacob, is not Ugandan.

The company is located on 7th Street Industrial Area in Kampala and, according to Brenda, will be offering rides within a radius of 25kms from the Kampala Central Business District.

Apart from the ability to schedule a ride for later, there's nothing much that is likely to sway users from the already existing incumbents; SafeBoda, Taxisfy, Mondo, and UberBODA. And, it's also worth noting that if the feature proves a success, it won't take much for the incumbents to replicate it in their applications. Think Snapchat stories and Facebook products.

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Dial Jack, in their app, points out that their charge is UGx. 1000 per Kilometre. This makes it more expensive than SafeBoda and Taxify - at the moment - which I have both used in the past one week. For example, from Lumumba Avenue to Kisaasi, I was charged UGx. 2500 (USD. 0.7) with Taxify and UGx. 2000 (USD. 0.5) from Makerere University to Kisaasi with SafeBoda. Both distances are at least 10 kilometers.

My experience also indicates that both Taxify and SafeBoda are not only cheaper than the rest but have a growing catalog of riders. SafeBoda, says that they boast over 1500 riders in their database. While UberBODA & Taxify haven't yet released any statistics ever since they launched their Boda Boda services.

The process of signing up with Dial Jack is going to be a turnoff for many users. It requires one to fill in some sort of questionnaire. Think of half the questions when you were joining Facebook. A process that could be made easier if they integrated with Google and Facebook to allow one sign up using either.

The user experience won't also be the best if you're used to using Uber, Taxify, and SafeBoda. Or even Mondo.

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