Bulawayo – Local entrepreneur, Tafara Makaza, successfully re-launched his ride booking application, ZimTaxi, in Bulawayo last week. This is all in a bid to address the disjointed transportation system, with plans underway to expand to other cities in the country.
The relaunch comes after a trial version was launched last month to improve the application and incorporate feedback to ensure that it provides best service to its users.
It is available for both Android and IOS users.
The business model operates in a similar manner to popular international ride booking business, Uber Technologies Inc, but was tailor made for the Zimbabwean context.
In a interview with The Tenacity Post, Makaza said the technology, which he developed with his co-founder, Emancipate Musemwa, is expected to improve ride booking experience in the country as it allows users to summon a Taxi from the comfort of their safe locations rather than travel to look for taxis which can also be dangerous at night.
The goal of the App is to be cheaper, safer and more reliable than regular taxis.
The 22 year old added that ZimTaxi will address pricing issues as it is common that fares are unreliable and can change anytime.
“It’s an app that allows you to summon a taxi driver registered under our app. It also includes people with private cars who wish to make extra cash. Its main focus is on the end users, both the driver to maximize their profits and also to make sure people get affordable and reliable rides,” Makaza said.
“In Bulawayo, if you want to go out with your friends or you are going out on a business trip, the prices tend to vary according to the driver. They can change within the first ten minutes of negotiating. We are trying to provide people with a definite pricing system and also a reliable taxi that they can hold accountable in case something happens,” he added.
ZimTaxi will charge fixed fares per kilometer, thus making planning for trips and shuttling easier.
The application will provide safe rides as all ZimTaxi drivers are said to go through comprehensive background and police clearance checks before being approved for the service.
The young entrepreneur also makes an effort to meet all the drivers before they can be part of the ZimTaxi crew.
Passengers can rate their drivers and according to ZimTaxi, only the highest-rated drivers are allowed on the road.
Makaza who studies in the USA, said he brought the idea home to contribute towards developing entrepreneurship in the country.
He said his experiences in the west challenged him to bring life changing innovations to improve the quality of life of his fellow countrymen.
“I said to myself, instead of me coming up with a new idea in America, Id rather take something which is working here and develop it back home. Replicate it and customize it so that it fits the Zimbabwean context,” Makaza said.
“When I came here I wanted to find a way to contribute in developing entrepreneurship in the country.”
This innovation adds to the basket of innovations coming from young Zimbabweans, a sign of growing entrepreneurship in the country.