On February 9, 2018, Taxify officially announced that they're now allowing their riders to book boda boda's on their platform. Putting them in direct competition with SafeBoda.
While as we witnessed flooding in Uganda's ride-hailing industry - for cars, SafeBoda remained safe in its boda-boda (motorcycle) category. However, the latest entrant in the market- Taxify, has decided to have a piece of that cake - too.
According to our sources, Taxify has started on-boarding boda-boda riders to its platform. The Estonian ride-hailing company with its Ugandan offices located in Bugolobi is the latest to become innovative and diversify it's revenue streams as well as widen its scope of services.
Kampala is one of the most notorious cities when it comes to the traffic jam. According to Kampala Capital City Authority, the city was designed to cope with about 45,000 vehicles, yet those that enter the city daily are more than two million, including taxis and private vehicles.
That's what led to the rise of the boda-boda and eventually SafeBoda.
In fact, during peak traffic and working hours, many prefer to jump onto a boda-boda other than drive or use the public means. Mainly because of its convenience.
This had reduced the car ride-hailing companies to being used in the night, going to events or the weekend when traffic is a little bit relaxed.
Taxify moving into this area implies the company is looking to offer a 360 degrees service - come rain, sunshine, darkness or traffic jam. Which is, with all due respect, something incredible.
In an effort to find out Taxify's position on this, we reached out to the person in charge of their public relations in Uganda over the weekend. However, he said that he was ignorant about the matter since he has been out of office on leave. Instead, he referred us to Lorreen Ajiambo, the Head of PR who sits in Kenya.
She declined to take our calls nor reply to our messages over the weekend. And, this morning [22/01/2018], she did pick our call but refused to comment saying she "will get back to us later".
By the time of publication of this story [10.30am EAT] Taxify's offices in Uganda on Spring road Bugolobi were still closed and therefore, we were unable to get a comment from them.
However, all the sources we spoke to are figures highly respected in the Ugandan startup ecosystem.
If Taxify is able to prove that the model works, given that Uber might pull out of the market, then they are likely to dominate the African ride-hailing market. Because I don't think it'll be hard for them to replicate the same in Kenya and Nigeria.
If that's not the case, then there will be a rise of copy and paste amongst its competitors. Whoever will be aggressive the most, will remain the last man standing.
Although, all this is happening as SafeBoda is expanding to Kenya. (See also: Uganda’s SafeBoda expanding to Kenya).
Currently, the ride-hailing market in Uganda has Uber, Taxify, Quick Taxi, Friendship Taxi, Spesho and SafeBoda. Though I won't be surprised if Safaricom's Little launched before 2018 ends.