Very soon in South Africa, when potential cab customers want taxis, there won’t just be five or six drivers beckoning towards them; there’ll also be three or more apps to choose from.
With three taxi companies going head-to-head for South Africa’s taxi customers, the country’s already fiercely competitive taxi market just got fiercer.
Simplifying the taxi-hailing process is now the battleground for South African cab companies Zapacab, Snappcab and Uber, according to an opinion piece in HumanIPO.
Uber already operates in 40 cities across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Johannesburg is its first African venture. For Zapacab and Snappcab, South Africa is their first shot.
All three appeared on the scene within a couple of months of each other, the report said. On the record they claim to be open to partnerships and collaboration.
Both startups push the fact they are African solutions to the unique taxi ecosystem in the country, but, like Uber, they plan to roll out their service in other African countries.
Snappcab co-founder Anton van Metzinger said he hopes to do business next in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Zapacabcould could soon be in Kenya and Nigeria.
Zapacab is distinct among the three in that it does not run its service on a mobile app, but rather on a mobile-optimized site.
The idea behind this was to service all Internet-enabled devices immediately and ensure when it came to eventually building an app that the team knew exactly it wanted.
In contrast, Snappcab will go live later this week with apps primed for Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows.
Customers will have to wait to evaluate differences in functionality between Snappcab’s native apps and Zapacab’s mobi site, but one early advantage will be Snappcab’s visibility in app stores.
Uber has the advantage of experience and know-how, although in Africa it is in unchartered water.
The company can throw huge resources at each new country and city it enters. Using South African football legend Mark Fish as its “first customer” is a good example of the kind of marketing it can undertake.