Ride-hailing in Kenya

Published on
August 13, 2022

Ride-hailing in Kenya

Regarding moving around in Kenya, the road is the most common means of transport, which is a huge contributor to the economy today. According to the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census report, 15% of households own bicycles, 6.3 % own cars, 0.9% own buses, lorries, or three-wheeler trucks, 9.2% own motorcycles, and 0.5% own Tuk Tuks. This implies that 68.1% of the Kenyan population does not own any motorized form of transport. As a result, many people rely on ride-hailing services when it comes to commuting from one place to another.

What is ride-hailing?

Hiring a personal driver to take the rider to their destination is known as ride-hailing. 

Ride-hailing platforms are therefore online or app-based platforms that allow users to hire a personal driver. They connect private-hire vehicle drivers with platform users in need of a ride. Ride-hailing applications make getting a private driver much easier and more efficient.

The service works when someone uses an app to "hail" or request a local driver to pick them up and transport them directly to a particular area. Passengers can choose to ride alone or in a group on these trips, which can be arranged in advance or on demand.

The ride-hailing business has grown tremendously in Kenya over the past few years due to the dependency on the service, especially in the cities such as Nairobi. The demand will continue to rise as this country's population and economy increase.

The best ride-hailing applications in Kenya

Due to the high demand for ride-hailing in Kenya, the market for such applications is undoubtedly huge. These are some of the most commonly used ride-hailing platforms in Kenya.

  1. Mobi

The new Mobi app is one of a kind that provides similar services to other ride-hailing apps. Still, unlike them, they use a charitable business model that redistributes resources to participants based on their contribution to the company's growth. Mobi has developed an application that allows people to earn passive income, pay bills, buy airtime, and quickly get a ride wherever they need to go, all in the same application. Passive income is earned by referring new drivers or riders to the app. Revenues earned by referring others to the app are called “Powershares.” Once their referral starts using Mobi, the referee gets paid 4% of the fare every time. You can refer as many users to the app as possible. This turns Mobi users into shareholders, and as such, they are part and parcel of the company’s success story.

  1. Uber 

In January 2020, Uber had 12.5 million installs, making it the most widely used taxi and ride-sharing app globally. Because it has drivers across the world, one can request a ride from anywhere. This taxi app has been operational in Kenya since 2015. 

A significant advantage of Uber is that the app allows you to estimate the cost of your ride even before you order it!

Uber has three main packages; Uber X, Uber Boda, and Uber Chap. It also has an additional food delivery service, UberEats.

  1. Little cab

This app was built as a result of a partnership between Craft Silicon and Safaricom back in 2016. The product is a mobile phone app automated transportation solution for consumers and corporate clients available on the go.

Some of the benefits of using this app are;

  • Car ride options are available as Basic, Comfort, and Lady Bug 
  •  Free WiFi for customers on a journey
  •  Secure cashless payments via Lipa Na Mpesa
  1. Bolt 

Previously known as Taxify, Bolt is one of Kenya's most used ride-sharing apps. It is available in over 30 countries and 150 cities worldwide. In Kenya, Bolt is available in most cities and towns.

Bolt's mission is to provide fast, dependable, and affordable transportation to millions worldwide while assisting thousands of drivers in providing for their families.

  1. Wasili

Like Uber, Bolt, and Little Cab, Wasili is a ride-hailing app, only that it was built to fill the gap that the rest didn't. The niche was the need for taxi services in the upcountry cities and was founded in Nakuru. Despite its need to serve these neglected areas, the app has since gained popularity in other regions of the country, such as Eldoret, Kitale, and Nairobi.

  1. Swvl

Unlike the above apps, Swvl operates by utilizing the carpooling mode of transportation. Users can book trips using their mobile devices, and the app notifies them of the nearest pick-up point, price, and bus time. To ply the various routes, the tech company leases vehicles that currently include 11-seater and 14-seater vans, as well as 22-seater shuttles.

The pros and cons of ride-hailing


  • Riders and other drivers benefit from ride-hailing apps because they are convenient, affordable, and safe.
  • Ride-hailing companies generate jobs and contribute to the economy.
  • Ride-hailing improves mobility for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income people while reducing taxi discrimination.


  • Ride-hailing services contribute to traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and total vehicle miles travelled.
  • Ride-hailing drivers are often paid less than the minimum wage except for Mobishare, which pays their drivers 82% of the fare while providing Powershares, which makes it possible for their income to increase exponentially. 
  • Poor driver screening has a long history in ride-hailing services, putting passengers at risk.


Ride-hailing is here to stay and will most likely dominate the transport industry because of its rising demand and effectiveness. As Kenyan citizens looking to either commute, become a driver, or just earn an extra buck, we prefer Mobi, because you can earn passive income without even being a driver!!

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