A car sharing platform has launched in Nairobi due to demand from holiday travellers who are shifting gears away from public transport to hired cars due to Covid-19 safety concerns.
George Muchira, CEO of Zuru Car Rental app which connects customers and car owners says most car owners have their vehicles fully booked at this period.
He said that taxis are expensive if the customer is travelling for more than 50 kilometres while public transport is risky given the pandemic and is not flexible and cannot fit in the schedule of the customer.
“PSVs have their carrying capacity reduced due to social distance and so demand for car hire has jumped as many Kenyans want to ensure that their families are safe from Covid-19 infections,” said Muchira.
Public service vehicles are currently witnessing low customer numbers as many customers are wary of the risks of infections that come with mingling with strangers.
Car owners will also be able to make an income from hiring their cars directly without having to lease them to car hire companies, thanks to a new platform called Zuru on the appstore.
The platform enables customers to get verified car owners while car owners can unlock capital from their cars.
Muchira said the company which runs on the concept of AirBnB will help car owners pay for the cost of maintaining their vehicles such as insurance by hiring their cars.
“We are bringing order in the car rental space by removing conmen who ask people to deposit cash after which they disappear,” he said.
Muchira said that they ensure car owners are verified before being allowed to list their cars.
The car hire market in Kenya is estimated to be worth Sh5 billion according to a sturdy conducted by the European magazine Euromonitor.
Zuru app, Muchira added, also seeks to ensure that cars are efficiently utilised adding that most cars are usually parked for seven straight hours every day except when the owner is going to work and back.
“We have vehicles in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu and we plan to rollout in the rest of the country to ensure that Kenyans have cars when they need them,” said the company’s head of finance, Stellar Naliaka.
Naliaka said the car rental space has been disrupted by technology and it is now the right time to introduce efficiencies in the system.
Many Kenyans are seeking for car hires at the time when public transport systems are restricted to carry limited passengers due to the risk of Covid-19 infections.