inDrive has launched in Lesotho, continuing its expansion in southern Africa where Uber and Bolt are unavailable in most markets.

California-headquartered ride-hailing platform InDrive is continuing its expansion into southern Africa, announcing the launch of its services in Lesotho. According to the company’s business development representative, Vincent Lilani, “There’s a clear need for a new approach to ride-hailing. inDrive’s unique fare negotiation model empowers drivers and passengers to agree on a price without algorithmic restrictions. We believe that this method offers a sound solution to many current challenges in the Southern African ride-hailing market.”

inDrive lets drivers and passengers determine their fares rather than using prices determined by algorithms. Passengers can suggest a fare, while drivers may accept, decline, or make a counteroffer without any penalties. The decision on whether to proceed with a ride can be made by considering the fare amount, car type, estimated arrival time, and driver ratings. Drivers can select profitable and convenient requests.

As part of its rollout in the mountain kingdom, InDrive will suspend commissions in the first six months of operations, allowing drivers to retain all of their earnings. 

A well-timed southern Africa expansion?

inDrive’s expansion into southern Africa is well-timed as the platform positions itself to be a viable alternative to Uber and Bolt in the region. In Lesotho and Botswana, Uber and Bolt are unavailable and inDrive has become the defacto ride-hailing service.

In South Africa, which has Uber and Bolt, inDrive is taking advantage of the country’s high internet costs to garner market share. In January, the company announced that customers could use InDrive without incurring mobile data costs.

Ride-hailing market shares in South Africa, per 2022 figures. (Image source: Statista)

Additionally, in South Africa, inDrive is capitalising on the endless struggles of Uber and Bolt. driver strikes over commission fees, concerns over customer safety, and fights with minibus taxi drivers are issues Bolt and Uber have had to deal with this year.

With the southern Africa ride-hailing market opening up, it will be interesting to see how inDrive builds a strong business case past the attractive launch offers. The struggles of Uber and Bolt, who were once widely celebrated and successful when they initially entered South Africa,  are a testament to the complexities of ride-hailing in the region and whether inDrive will weather that storm when it inevitably comes remains to be seen.

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