Easy Taxi Kenya has announced a Sh1 billion (US$ 9.8 million) asset financing plan that will enable taxi drivers who operate using the company’s hailing app to improve their service delivery.

The deal, dubbed ‘1 Billion for 1,000 drivers’ will help drivers to improve the quality and efficiency of their vehicles.

Kenya Commercial Bank is the first confirmed financial institution to partner with Easy Taxi. KCB will offer onward lending to the taxi operators at below-market rates, with the drivers paying back in instalments.

“Our business model is unique in the sense that it encourages our drivers to become digital entrepreneurs”, Easy Taxi Kenya CEO and Managing Director Paul Ndichu said at the launch of the partnership. “By offering them this facility, we empower them to harness their entrepreneurship opportunities and increase their capacity to engage in the transport sector in Kenya.”

The move comes as Uber Kenya, another taxi hailing service, plans to phase out all cars manufactured before 2008 from its service in March.

To access the loan facility, taxi drivers across the country would be required to register with Easy Taxi, receive official endorsement and a letter of recommendation in order to access the financing and scale up their businesses.

Mr Ndichu sees a huge opportunity for growth: “The Kenya taxi market is still virtually untapped as taxi app rides represent less than 5 per cent of total rides in the region”.

To date, Easy Taxi Kenya is operational in Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa, with over 2,000 taxis on their roster.

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