KENYA – A Kenyan motor vehicle dealer, Maridady Motors, has launched an online taxi-hailing app Peppea, promising to give big players such as Uber a run for their money, reports Business Daily.

“We have been researching on the solution for the last one year. What Kenyans need is a reliable transport system that is safer and more economical than what is already in the market,” explains Erick Wokabi, the business development manager at Maridady Motors.

The new app is banking on better pay for drivers and improved comfort for passengers to edge out competition comprising mainly foreign firms.

“You can pay by cash, on M-Pesa, credit/debit card and online through the Peppea wallet where you pay through a QR Code,” explains Maridady Motors Limited director Eric Ngigi, who is currently in the US marketing the enterprise to potential investors in diaspora.

Peppea is being rolled out in five phases, with first phase being launched last Saturday in Ruaka, Kiambu. The consequent phases will see the app expands to the entire Nairobi by the end of the year.

“We are targeting those areas around Nairobi where there is a high demand for cabs,” says Mr Wokabi adding the new app is “urban and African”.

The platform offers four categories of transport — Ubuntu, Platinum Gold and Classic. Ubuntu offers seven-seater vans.

“Instead of taking a matatu, groups of travellers going to one destination can pool together the cab in the African spirit of togetherness. That is why we have called it Ubuntu,” Mr Wokabi says.

Another segment is Platinum, a luxury and semi-luxury taxi. Gold category is meant for corporate companies and is served by a spacious vehicle that provides luxury and space to accommodate some luggage.

The development of Peppea has also been informed by the need for a reliable online taxi hailing platform for Maridady’s Smart PSVs business wing. This is where investors buy a taxi from Maridady and enters into a 24-month contract for management and servicing with the firm.

“We manage the business and give our client a guaranteed return on investment every month for 24 months,” Mr Ngigi says.

After the 24-month contract with Smart PSVs, the investor can sell off the vehicle and exit or do a trade in with Maridady. Smart PSVs, Mr Ngigi says, was informed by the fact that most Kenyans run taxi business as a side hustle and this exposes the business to so many challenges.

“We want to make taxi business profitable where our investors will be assured of guaranteed returns,” he adds.

The firm hopes to create more jobs for the youth through Peppea and Smart PSVs.

As the roll-out continues, Maridady Motors plans to work with university students as Peppea agents who will enlist drivers for the business.