The global ride-hailing company will be introducing new app features for drivers. One of them will allow Uber drivers to choose a route or vicinity where they want to operate, and another will allow riders to use the Nairobi Expressway.
According to Uber’s head of East Africa, Imran Manji, the features will be piloted in a month.
Uber drivers being able to choose a route or vicinity where they want to operate is definitely good news. The feature offers more flexibility to people who work other jobs as they drive routes that they’re more familiar with.
This feature is yet another way Uber is making driving safer for its African drivers. In South Africa, it recently organised trainings for its drivers in South Africa in partnership with the South African police. Some of them had been harassed and beaten by their passengers. With this feature, Kenyan drivers can choose to not operate in areas where they do not feel safe.
The other feature gives passengers the option to use the Nairobi Expressway instead of being stuck in heavy traffic along the road that links Mlolongo to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. If a passenger chooses to use the toll road, the ensuing toll charges will be passed to the passengers and reflected on their fares. Currently, motorists are paying between Ksh121 ($1.04) and Ksh1,823 ($15.55) to use the toll road. That’s a fair price to pay for moving to and fro the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) faster, right?
The features that have been announced so far sound like game changers for everyone involved—Uber drivers, Uber passengers, and Uber which might land a good blow on its competitors in the country if the adoption does drive sales, as expected.
Innovation is always a great way to gain competitive advantage. Will this human-centred approach to business change drivers’ perception of Uber and make them drop the case against the ride-hailing company in court?