Vaya Africa is a South Africa based ride-hail mobility venture founded by Zimbabwean mogul Strive Masiyiwa. Vaya is a subsidiary of Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet Group, including Liquid Telecom.
Vaya has acquired a fleet of Nissan Leaf EV to launch an on-demand electric taxi service and delivery service in Zimbabwe this week and also developed its exclusive solar-powered charging stations aka Vaya stations. The company has also finalized partnerships to begin the same service in markets of Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia.
Vaya is also exploring EV options for its other on-demand transit services such as bikes, Tuk Tuk taxies, and delivery. The main reason Vaya is shifting to electric alternatives is the unit economics, moving to electric will save 40% on fuel and maintenance costs. According to Econet, the cost to top up will be around $5 for a range of 150 to 200 km.
The company has already adapted its business according to the current situation to contain the transmission of COVID-19 in Africa. Vaya provides Personal Protective Equipment to its drivers and sanitizes its fleet four to five times a day.
Insights into the Vaya Africa mobility business:
VAYA Africa is owned by Cassava Smartech under Cassava On-demand Services, a Mauritius registered subsidiary of the Econet Group Limited with a mandate to provide a transportation solution (tailor-made) in Africa, encompassing the latest technologies through a mobile application VAYA.
Currently, the company is active in the countries of Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe of the continent. Vaya is one of the first on-demand (app-based) ride-hail service to operate on a large scale in Zimbabwe.
The Service was launched in 2018 and it has been constantly expanding its wings since then. Vaya now offers several mobility services including Vaya Ambulance, Vaya Shuttle, Vaya Hopper, Vaya Cross Border, Vaya Premium, Vaya Air Charter, Vaya Saffari & Tours, Vaya Intercity, Vaya Car Pool, Vaya lift Driver, Vaya Club, and now Vaya Electric.
Apart from mobility Vaya is also the leading player in the logistics industry and offers services including Vaya Express, Vaya Van Delivery, Vaya Tractor, Vaya Truck, Vaya Clean City, Vaya Road Assist, Vaya Clean City water Delivery, Vaya Borehole Drilling.
How does Vaya mobility works?
Users can schedule a ride through the Vaya Africa application, you can pick from the type of vehicle listed above, you can also set up special preferences such as handicap accessibility, etc. Then the application will give you the estimated cost and time for the ride and you can then confirm the booking. The application also provides the in-app map facility so you can track the vehicle in real-time.
You can also send parcels using the same application, you can book a bike or a truck depending upon the size of the package and the costs of such service are usually marginally cheaper.
The application also provides a user dashboard containing all your information including completed/canceled/ upcoming bookings. You can also select a payment method in-advance to make easy payments.
You can also sign up as a driver, with a separate application called Vaya Partner. When registering you have to upload a number of documents which include your ID/Passport, license, proof of address, and police clearance report.
How does Vaya ensure the safety of the users?
As we listed above, Vaya Africa does the complete background check of the drivers before they join the service to ensure that they are not a threat to the commuter’s safety. All drivers undergo a strict vetting process and must also have their vehicles inspected prior to entering service.
Vaya application shows users a clear facial picture of the driver with the license plate number of their vehicle before booking a ride, which you can share with your kin. In any case, your driver arrives in a vehicle with a license plate number different than what you have confirmed while booking, then you can take actions against it.
Vaya app also lets commuter share their trip status with their next kin so anything happens during the ride it won’t be too hard to trace them.
The Vaya Africa provides ‘Panic Button’ in the app that lets commuters contact a maximum of 5 numbers in case of any emergency rises during transit.
How does Vaya undercut the competition?
Vaya offers the lowest fares compared to its rivals, and also it has certain benefits of knowing local culture and preferences that make Vaya understand what the people want across the market and that makes a lot of difference.
Everything you need to know about African mobility market before you start your own mobility business:
Africa is the world’s 2nd largest and populous continent. It is estimated that the population of Africa will reach almost 2.5 billion by 2050. Over 40% of the people currently living in the urban areas of the continent, surely the number will rise in the coming years, except for the sub-Saharan region.
Car ownership is very low in Africa just 2% per capita, compared to 70% in the US and 50% in Europe. People of Africa manage their personal transport through various modes, such as bicycles, bikes, commuter taxis, or walking. On top of that Africa has now entered into a technology revolution, especially in services, the pace of urbanization and the issue of mobility will only increase.
Its large landmass and high population make the region a multi-wheeled and perfect market for shared mobility, that is the reason why Africa became the hotspot for ride-hail startups and VCs.
The car-sharing market in Africa:
Car sharing has always been around longer and more popular in Africa compared to Western countries. In fact, car-share giant Lyft was originally homage to the African country Zimbabwe and was known as Zimride, where the founder Logan Green was inspired by the widespread practice of car-sharing.
Food, accommodation, and travel requirements are the major driving forces of shared mobility. The emergence of smartphones, rising wireless technology, and peer-to-peer technologies give an extra booster to the already thriving shared economy within the region.
Le’s take an example of Locomote, it was the first car-sharing network to be launched in Africa in May 2015. It basically provides cars for short trips/one-way trips and a short-term rental option of up to three months. The users only have to pay for the exact amount of time and fuel used during the journey with insurance and parking expenses. Locomote currently operates in the cities of South Africa including Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.
Africa still has some issues in the car-sharing market including fractured road networks, decreasing air quality in major cities, inadequate road safety measures, higher rates of vehicle accidents, etc. But the African governments are looking at it in more holistic ways of developing advanced transportation infrastructure.
Ride-hailing market in Africa:
As previously mentioned, the car ownership rate is quite low in Africa. Despite these statistics, Volkswagen is going to establish a car factory in Rwanda, where only a few of the population can afford to buy a personal car.
The reason behind this investment is because over 35% population in Rwanda uses a car-sharing service. Volkswagen is planning to focus on car-sharing/ride-hailing businesses rather than selling new cars.
One of the biggest players in the ride-hailing market is Uber. But Uber is illegal in Namibia due to concerns over tax avoidance and foreign profiteering. But the country has its local taxi-sharing system known as Windhoek, and so does Uganda, the country has Kiira EV Smack and Kayoola Solar Bus system.
Africa currently has more than 50 e-ridesharing services in 21 countries with limited coverage. E-ridesharing is still unaffordable for lower-income groups in the continent, however, new solutions are addressing these issues and hitting the market such as ZayRide, Sendy, and Mondo Ride.
Maas and integrated technology:
Companies are improving their transit services by offering ICT options such as in Kenya, Flashcasts uses GPS to track vehicles in real-time.
Another company is Whereis, which combines the data of formal and informal transport systems containing routes, fares, or frequency so the commuters can easily plan their journey.
Peer-to-peer car sharing in Africa:
Carpooling is the most popular method of African shared mobility. South Africa-based Jumpin Rides came into the market in just 2016 but now it has a community of more than 11,000 users. Jumpin Rides is a peer-to-peer platform that connects private car-owners with the commuters who are going the same way, and they just have to bear the fuel expenses. This way they can complete their journey in a more cost-effective way.
Another such carpooling company is Nigeria-based Jekalo. Jekalo allows drivers to set their own destinations at any time, unlike Uber which only allows them to do that twice a day.
Electric vehicles in Africa:
The African shared mobility market is gradually becoming electrified. Uganda is pioneering its way in the design of electric cars, while Kiira Motors Corporation in South Africa currently leads in the market with the highest number of electric vehicles.
Well, the biggest challenge EVs face in Africa in general and the Sub-Saharan region in particular is the reliability of the power supply and its cost. In 30 out of 48 countries of Africa, electricity blackouts occur on a daily basis, and electricity prices are also more than double those in the US or China.
However, most African countries are now looking to renewables alternatives of electricity generation with increasing their solar and wind grid capacity. Also, EVs in Africa are running on battery storage which is quite an effective solution to decrease the constant dependency on active charging.
African bike-sharing market:
Bike-sharing in African cities has lagged behind due to the lack of dedicated infrastructure. In most of the countries of Africa, there are very few bike lanes and the lack of bicycle lanes puts cyclists in danger who are fighting for space on the highway against bigger vehicles.
Marrakech was the first African city to get a dedicated bike-share program called Medina Bike in the year 2016 with the support of the United Nations, to reduce traffic jams and air pollution.
Mobike, the world’s largest smart bike-sharing platform, also released a bike-sharing scheme in Nairobi in May 2018. The bikes were also part of a bike-sharing showcase planned as a part of Africa Clean Mobility Week.
Drone technology in Africa:
The drone is a relatively new but fast-evolving transport solution in Africa. As many regions of Africa such as Tanzania, are extremely rural and remotely located, which separates the people of that area from vital services, medicine, or essentials.
That’s the reason why the Tanzanian government has teamed up with UNICEF and the World Bank to deploying drone technologies in the region to provide support and growth to the local communities.
Zipline and Vayu are such drones that are being used to make medical supply deliveries in the remote areas of East Africa, such as the Lake Victoria basin, which is home to almost 35 million people.
Are you planning to kickstart your mobility business in Africa?
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Our app developers, app designers, IoT engineers, business experts, and legal advisors all work together to help you study the market, get the legal permit, draft the business plan and decide the business model accordingly and deliver you the best technical solution with groundbreaking features.
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