The growth of ride-hailing services has been impressive in a handful of West African countries, especially, Nigeria and Ghana. However, the growth seems to be domiciled in Anglophone countries, as Francophone countries have been experiencing slow growth.
For a country like Senegal, the ride-hailing sector has few players, with the biggest players in the game – on the global scale – still away from the streets of Senegal.
To change the narrative, French-based ride-hailing service provider, Heetch, has made moves to revolutionalize e-taxi experience in Senegal.
Heetch had in May, 2019, raised $38m through the Moroccan arm. The funds was aimed at scaling its expansion to Algeria, Cameroon, and Senegal, where it is already building its presence.
The company, which is one of the big players in France, plans to launch soon, and compete with Yango, which is owned by Russian tech giant Yandex, and already operational in the country.
Yango launched operations in Senegal in 2018, and has since dominated the country, alongside Allo Taxi.
With the continued increase in the size of the middle class in Senegal, coupled with the growing penetration of smartphones in the country, the French-speaking West African country seems ready to take the new step into e-taxi services.
One of Heetch’s focus is to improve the experience of drivers in Senegal, and so far, the company noted that its application has had up to 3,000 downloads in Senegal.
One of the e-taxi drivers in the country spoke on the experience in the business:
“What I earn from driving around the city is more than those who use Yango. Where the customer is supposed to pay 2,000 CFA francs ($3.37), Yango charges 1,300. It’s good for Yango, but not the taxi driver,” Modou Gning said.
Speaking on the requirements for signing up, Heetch noted that as soon as taxi driver undergoes the necessary training, and the vehicle meets safety standards, they can sign up.
Ride-hailing services have encountered series of confrontations from the people, as many have protested against ride-hailing apps. This has led to some people being unimpressed by the operations of both Heetch and Yango.
Patrick Pedersen, Heetch’s general manager for expansion, has said that the company is “not a taxi killer application.”
Heetch is currently eyeing an expansion into Côte d’Ivoire – another francophone country.