Nairobi, Kenya is one of Uber's largest markets in Africa and great testing ground for new ideas. Uber Nairobi decided to test a new pilot for a cheap and faster version of UberX, "ChapChap" or "HurryHurry" is aimed at two market segments; the low economies and the delivery services. This new service is based on a small Suzuki Alto that provides parcel delivery services for many offices as well as cheaper transportation costs for many Kenyans living in and around Nairobi. The new service is backed by a Kiswahili slogan that means "Arrive Faster, Save Money."
One of the new services customers is a young lawyer that used the "ChapChap" option to deliver documents, which now costs around 100 Kenyan Shillings, which is the equivalent of under $1. While he claims that the service is a bit cramped, it does really speed up things and is easier to navigate in the hustle and bustle of downtown Nairobi.
Loic Amado, Uber's East African General Manager, explained that the local market is all about choice, stating that "Kenyans specifically are very open to adapting to new things and are very creative in using Uber for different things." What set Loic off on this path was when he noticed that might Kenyans were using Uber for errand runs, he said "There wasn't a price point that was so affordable or attractive to do these shorter errands. The lower price is possible because the Alto is, at 25 km per liter, twice as fuel-efficient as the average car an Uber driver uses."
Over 200 Suzuki' Altos were included in the Pilot, and Uber set up a deal with the Suzuki representatives and local Bank Stanbic in Kenya, where 300 Alto's would be made available to the higher rated drivers. Giving them an opportunity to buy one within a three-year lease. Uber competes against one local app called "Little" and one global competitor, Estonia's Taxify, which is strong in Africa and the Middle East.
If the pilot proves to be successful then Uber will expand the service across some of the other countries in Africa including, but not only Tanzania and Uganda.
The new service also targets low-income Kenyans that would consider the service to packed minibuses. In one case, a security guard used the service for his pregnant wife, which allowed her to deliver their third baby in the hospital, the first two were delivered at home.
The service is definitely going to attract a lot of new customers, although the more affluent ones will not use it, since their car is part of a status symbol, and appearances must be kept up at all times.