LOCAL transport company TransUp recently launched an application-based taxi facility which is in the same mode as Uber.
The facility whose pilot started this month, started with 20 cars with the operators saying they intend to improve the service that is provided by Uber across the border in South Africa by tailor-making their service for the Lesotho market.
Uber is a transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Uber offers services including peer-to-peer ridesharing, taxi cab hailing, food delivery and a bicycle-sharing system. The company has operations in 785 metropolitan areas worldwide. Its platforms can be accessed via its websites and mobile apps.
Uber is estimated to have 100 million worldwide users and a 69 percent market share in the United States.
Uber has been in neighbouring South Africa since 2014 when it registered 1 million rides but doubling the figure the following year.
TransUp Director of Administration and developer of the application, Vuse Nhlapo told the Xpress People that their application is already running and can be accessed via their social media sites while it will soon be available on application stores.
He said they would start with 20 cars in Maseru although they are yet to decide what kind of vehicles they would enlist.
“We started with 20 cars in Maseru but we expect the service to rapidly grow,” Nhlapo said.
“Just like Uber, we will not take just any cars although we haven’t decided the exact models. This will help us differentiate ourselves from the regular taxi services that are already on offer on the market.
“TransUp is almost a clone of Uber but customised for Basotho. There is really no difference. Uber has different ways of pinpointing locations so we are customising TransUp so that it can pick locations here in Lesotho.”
He said just like Uber, TransUp will operate using a mobile application and will also give users estimated cost of trip before they embark on the journey.
Nhlapo said Transup will soon announce fleet registration for transport operators who are interested in becoming part of the platform which will be in two packages namely companies and individual packages.
“Cars will be registered in different categories such as vans, luxury rides and standard rides.”
He said the application will help users access transport without having to make long calls to give directions to their drivers. He said the service will also come in handy to travellers who have often be bound by the time restrictions which ordinary taxis become scarce after 8pm.
“With this application, drivers will be tracked and monitored showing their real time location at the TransUp office and we will be working closely all relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety of the users and the drivers,” he said.
He also said clients will also know the name of the driver, vehicle registration and vehicle model before it arrives to enhance their safety. He further said that the application will have an ‘’SOS” button to be used in threatening situations while the passengers can rate the drivers.
“Having seen the technology working in other countries, it was easy for us to capture the idea then decided to implement it in our country realising the benefits it can give Basotho.”
He said, the service is an economic enabler hence ordinary car owners can earn income. They will not even incur any costs to get clients since adverting and promotions will be paid for by TransUp.
“Clients will get fast pick-ups at a relatively lower prices and will be assured of comfort. The App gives transparency with estimated fare, duration of ride and driver details for security. Clients pay for distance and time travelled,” Nhlapo said.