American ride-hailing service inDrive has announced its expansion into Zimbabwe where it will compete with local services such as Vaya and Hwindi.
Zimbabwe is the eighth country in Africa for inDrive and one of over 700 locations worldwide for the company.
“The launch of inDrive in Harare is set to provide a much-needed boost to the local transportation sector and improve the mobility options available to the city’s residents,” says the company in a statement.
According to data.ai, inDrive climbed from 42.6 million app downloads in 2021, to 61.8 million in 2022, to become the second most downloaded ride-hailing app worldwide, based on Google Play and App Store data. The company initially announced its plans to enter Zimbabwe back in 2019, but hopes to finally launch now.
“We are thrilled to announce the launch of inDrive in Harare, Zimbabwe. We are excited to bring our innovative mobility and urban services platform to this vibrant city and provide our customers with a seamless and convenient experience,” says Vincent Lilane, Business Development Representative for inDrive Africa.
The company is planning to set itself apart from other services through its pricing model. Unlike other companies such as Uber and Bolt, inDrive does not offer standard rates for rides, but operates based on a peer-to-peer pricing principle, which allows passengers and drivers to directly negotiate a fare. Once a fare is agreed upon between the driver and passenger over the app, the driver picks up the passenger and completes the ride.
In Zimbabwe, it faces a tough ride in a market where the likes of Hwindi, TaxiF and Vaya, the subsidiary of Cassava Technologies that runs a fleet of electric vehicles. Zimbabwe has also had other ride brands such as G-Taxi and SmartGo.
The ride-sharing business has had mixed fortunes in the region. China’s Didi, worth US$7billion, had hoped to use South Africa as a portal into the African market, but quit in 2021 after just a year in the country. Bolt, the Estonian company, had better fortunes; it is currently expanding in Africa after first launching in South Africa in 2016.
Lyft, another major US ride-hailing company, was launched almost a decade ago after its founder, Logan Green, travelled to Zimbabwe and was inspired by local kombis to launch his start-up.