Somali entrepreneurs launch first taxi hailing app in Somalia

Somalian start-up Waryaa Taxi has launched its new taxi hailing app, allowing passengers to book taxis from the convenience of their smartphones for the first time in Somalia.

'Waryaa' is a Somali language word meaning 'hey' .

The Uber-style on-demand app Waryaa Taxi was founded by a group of entrepreneurs who identified the need to facilitate better transportation services in different cities in the Horn of Africa. The company, in collaboration with its technical partners which had grown its base by deploying a free web and smartphone application that connects passengers directly with taxi drivers allowing customers to book with certainty every time, and to create jobs, enable better transportation modes and place pricing for the service in the hands of the customer, while improving productivity for taxi drivers, car hire companies and private drivers.

"Waryaa Taxi is a creation of individuals who were tired of overpaying for taxis. They were also concerned about the security of many taxis in the region. WARYAA taxi is safe, cheap and convenient, The application connects taxi drivers and passengers allowing them to experience a fast, convenient and safe ride, at just a tap of button." said Omar Kodah, co-founder and CEO of Waryaa Taxi.

It's not an entirely new concept, though unique to Somalia. The smart taxi service is similar to USA based Uber.

" As safety is the first priority in Somalia, Women generally feel more comfortable in vehicles whose GPS coordinates are monitored every few seconds, in a car whose condition has been verified by a third party, and which is driven by carefully screened & trained drivers. We are currently working to make deals with drivers in main cities," said Kodah, who noted that huge money of dollars were invested to build the software.

Mr.Ahmed, Waryaa Business development manager noted that all their drivers have undergone a background checks and have been approved closely. Ahmed noted in order to ensure the safety of the passengers that their drivers have a good track record and have never been involved in any safety issues, similar to that they insisted that the company only uses licensed cars as well as licensed drivers who are trained to provide world class services. All drivers undergo training sessions to be familiar with the app functionality, features and safety requirements.

“Our main goal is not just to build a strong and profitable business, but to participate in building better economy and safe, reliable transportation services in the country.” Mr.Ahmed added that current taxi services lack fixed tariffs and meters, meaning fares can be unpredictable and also claiming that their app is ideally suited to the slower internet speeds encountered by users.

The Taxi hailing app service was designed with respect to the culture and technology in Somalia using stable infrastructure with a great user experience interface. Passengers can book a taxi through smartphone app as well as by just visiting the company website and placing the booking request through their website, even if the passengers do not have smartphone or computer they can easily call the call center dispatch center where the dispatch center places the taxi booking manually on behalf of the passenger and passenger will easily get a call from the assigned driver.

Waryaa Taxi is the brainchild of Kodah and his friend Abdirisaq to get the business idea rolling. Currently the service is working in Hargeisa Somalia and soon will be launched in the capital Mogadishu and Puntland regions in North east Somalia.

Waryaa Taxi plans to roll out its taxi hailing app services in neighboring countries Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia. The app currently covers all regional languages such as Amharic, Swahili, Somali, English and French. The Tech startup tech is welcoming investors and fundraising to grow its team and accelerate its growth.

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