Vaya Lift: Game changer in cab business

By Staff reporter | 01 Dec 2018 at 11:58hrs
Vaya lift
AFFORDABLE, convenient, luxurious and safe; four words that any cab driver dreams of crafting together into one sentence as part of a sales pitch to potential passengers. But as life would have it, a sales pitch remains just that; a presentation that attempts to persuade someone to buy a product or service.

More often than not, beautifully crafted sales pitches don't usually translate to quality service, leaving clients frustrated and feeling like they have been sold a dummy.

A new player in the e-hailing ride services is making inroads in the cab business in Bulawayo and promises to offer passengers top class service that encompasses affordability, convenience, safety and luxury.

E-hailing ride service is a mobile application that allows an individual to request a cab using his/her smart phone. It's still a relatively virgin territory, overshadowed by traditional and conventional methods of hiring a cab where passengers physically approach cab drivers and negotiate a fee to a desired destination.

Enter Vaya Lift — an e-hailing ride service powered by Cassava, an Econet Wireless Zimbabwe subsidiary — and the cab industry is poised never to be the same again.

"Vaya Lift is a vision that is in line with the Econet Wireless Zimbabwe journey to digitise, make lives better by leveraging on technology and creating employment through providing innovative solutions.

"The Vaya Lift platform has been customised with unique features such as in-app payment to suit the Zimbabwean market and its people and we also have an in-house team of technology engineers that are continuously improving the application's service delivery," said Mr Fungai Mandiveyi, the Econet Wireless Zimbabwe media relations and analytics executive.

He said Vaya Lift which can be downloaded from PlayStore, does not only provide ride-hailing services, but also local and intra-city courier services. Stories of "cab drivers" that turn on passengers, rob them of their belongings and in extreme cases assault and leave them for dead - frequently make newspaper headlines across the country.

The safety of drivers and passengers is, however, of paramount importance to Vaya Lift.

"Safety is key to us and has been provided for through vehicle tracking in the form of an in-app tracking unit and panic button, which protect the customers as well as the drivers," explained Mandiveyi.

Vaya Lift is tapping into a market that is saturated with licensed metered taxi operators, illegal public service vehicle operators commonly known as mushikashikas but they believe the cake is big enough for all the players to dig in.

"We're coming into the market with a much-needed alternative to transportation which brings affordability, convenience and safety to the customer through their mobile phone.

"We believe that taxis, buses and other traditional forms of transportation will remain in business as there is room for all players including technology driven innovations like Vaya," said Mr Mandiveyi.

Another e-hailing ride service called Hwindi has already been launched in Harare and Bulawayo. With the high unemployment rates in the country, Vaya Lift hopes to play its part in creating opportunities for car owners.

"Our model is based on crowd sourcing and requires that our drivers come on board as independent contractors (and Vaya partners). One must have a valid driver's licence, a Zimbabwean identity document, proof of residence and police clearance," The vehicles also undergo a thorough vetting process.

A vehicle clearance certificate issued by the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) is a must in addition to another inspection by the Vaya operations team as well as comprehensive insurance cover among other requirements.

To date, more than 8 000 drivers have applied to become Vaya Lift drivers and the number is expected to grow. Drivers can make an estimated $1 000 per month according to Vaya Lift projections.

Given that Vaya Lift accepts EcoCash as a form of payment in a country that is running extremely low on physical cash, it is not difficult to see how the introduction of Vaya Lift gives Econet an upper hand over the likes of Uber and Taxify who might be considering later launching in Zimbabwe.



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