Taxi hailing firm Uber is preparing to launch in Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city.

The company currently operates in 396 cities in 60 countries. Nine of these cities are in Africa. Uber launched its first Kenyan operation in January of 2015. Nairobi was the second city in the world where Uber accepted cash payments, and the first to introduce payments via mobile money.  

In preparation for the Mombasa launch, the San-Francisco-based company has advertised the position of an operations coordinator, who will handle day-to-day operations and coordinate the launch in the coastal city.

The main role of the Operations Coordinator will to bring drivers on board, as well as identifying and handling potential problem areas for drivers.

Mombasa is particularly attractive because it is a hub for tourists who may need to get around the coastal city. Uber’s pricing model and reputation for disruption are likely to challenge the established taxi operators in the coastal city, meaning that there could be resistance as it seeks to become established.

The planned expansion comes in the light of recent reports of threats and attacks on Uber’s drivers in Nairobi. These attacks, attributed to established metered taxi operators, have been driven by the perception that Uber is operating an unfair business model that is eating into the traditional cabs’ margins.

The timeline for the expansion is not clear, but Uber’s planned move shows that it is committed to expanding its services to other major cities in Kenya, despite the challenges it has faced in Nairobi.

UPDATE: Uber is now available in Mombasa.

Eric Mugendi Author

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