Travel agencies are starting to appear in Africa.
But before that, they’ve been a rare sight.
“Uber is the first taxi service to come into the continent,” says Michael Smith, founder of the Kenya-based travel agency Marketing for Travelers, which launched its website in 2012.
“It was a big deal in Kenya, and it’s the first time that any African government has taken that step.”
Uber is currently operating in Kenya and Uganda.
But it hasn’t yet opened its doors to the rest of Africa.
When I visited Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, last year, Smith was impressed by how well Uber worked in Kenya.
It worked as well as the taxi industry in the country, he says, and Uber’s drivers weren’t just picking up customers; they were making money.
Smith is also convinced that Uber is the way forward for Africa.
He says it’s not the only way.
There’s a big push for African travel, and the way to get there is by Uber, he believes.
This is the biggest issue for the taxi business in Kenya right now, Smith says.
The taxi industry, like the entire tourism industry, needs to find a way to diversify and adapt to new technologies.
African travellers are tired of the taxi companies.
They are not the best.
They don’t take the best passengers, and they’re too slow, Smith said.
But there’s another problem: African travellers want their money back.
Many don’t want to wait for a taxi to pick them up, and often the drivers don’t even know they’re being picked up.
The taxi industry has made a big commitment to improve their services.
For Uber to be a success, it needs to be profitable, Smith believes.
Uber will help them to find their taxi, Smith suggests.
He thinks Uber’s focus on Africa will be key to making the taxi market successful in the region.
With a growing African tourism industry and growing demand for African taxis, the taxi drivers have no choice but to offer their services to African travellers.
What does Uber do?
The Uber app allows African travellers to book a taxi and pick up passengers.
Users can book a cab from a kiosk in their city, and pay a deposit of $10.
Once they arrive at the taxi, they’re charged a $3 fee and will be taken to a destination.
There are no drivers, and no other passengers.
If the passengers are in a group, they are free to leave.
If the passengers aren’t in a party, the driver will have to let them go.
If they’re a family, the passengers can choose a different taxi.
And if the passengers don’t agree, they can call the driver.
In Africa, taxis are typically operated by a small company called a car-sharing company.
Some people have a personal relationship with a car owner, but many people don’t.
They don’t necessarily want to pick up a stranger, but they do want to get around and pick people up when they need to, Smith explains.
How does Uber charge its customers?
The first fee charged to a Kenyan passenger is the $3 deposit, but it’s up to the driver to calculate the total cost of the trip, Smith explained.
Customers will be charged a per-mile rate based on their distance from the destination.
A trip can be anywhere from one to five miles.
So if a customer wants to go to a place with five or more miles to the destination, they’ll be charged $3 per mile.
While drivers will charge the driver $3 for every mile they drive, the drivers will earn $1.20 per mile if they have at least one passenger, Smith points out.
A $3 charge is calculated based on a driver’s average hourly rate and his ability to pay the fee.
To earn the most money, a driver should earn about $20 per hour, he said.
So if the driver makes $20 an hour, they should earn $2.60 per hour.
Uber has set a minimum hourly rate of $2, so the driver could earn $25 per hour if they were to earn $20.
Smith says Uber drivers can earn up to $3.40 per hour when they are working for Uber.
Uber is a platform that allows people to earn money by charging for the trip they take.
Who’s driving the Uber taxi?
Smith says the drivers are often young men from urban areas, but he doesn’t have specific numbers on that.
Most drivers are African.
Many of the drivers work for local car-share companies, and some work for Uber’s competitor, Grab.
The drivers work on a “first come, first serve” basis, Smith told me.
Driver contracts allow them to earn a profit if their driver has a fare payment, Smith noted