By Dieketseng Maleke for IOL
A new South African e-hailing company, NextNow, which promises to be more affordable than its more established competitors was launched in Johannesburg recently.
The company with its mobile application is entering the local market where Uber, Bolt, and InDriver are dominating the sector.
NextNow head of operations Mlungisi Ntombela said the e-hailing service’s competitive pricing would set it apart from established international competitors.
“Our strong point is that we are more affordable than other international e-hailing services, and we can do this by being smaller and leaner. We are aware of the unemployment challenge that the country is facing and realise that in the post-pandemic economy, we can make a huge difference in the lives of cash-strapped customers, as well as our drivers,” Ntombela said.
NextNow business development director Babatunde Orimoloye said: “We find ourselves in a post-pandemic landscape where there is a strong drive towards economic recovery. We see an opportunity to roll out our ride-sharing platform as part of the move towards digital transformation, which is ushering in more digital services and the sharing of assets.”
The company said it took several measures to ensure customers were safe in their taxis.
According to the company, a one time pin (OTP) is sent to the customer that needs to be verified by the driver.
“This ensures that the driver is authenticated and legitimate. We also have stringent verification processes in place before we enlist our drivers and provide 24 hours support assistance to our customers,” it said.
The company said it had a gender-specific service, as some female customers may feel comfortable being driven by a female driver.
“Furthermore, our vehicles are verified and inspected to ensure they are roadworthy and meet our standards,” the company added.
“Not only will drivers be able to earn higher margins than those offered by our international competitors, but we also care about the financial wellbeing of our drivers. We aim for professionalism and transformation in the on-demand and ride-sharing industry and are working hard to ensure we are investing in drivers and assisting them in making a decent living and building sustainable businesses,” said Ntombela.
Ntombela added that the company provided its drivers with the necessary skills to help them manage their income and further increase their chances of running a successful business.
NextNow plans to expand to Cape Town and Durban, followed by the rest of the country.
Orimoloye said that once the service had been established across South Africa and the market had been developed, it would use its experience to launch in other African countries.
NextNow is launching the following options with its e-hailing service where clients have the option to pay cash or with their credit card:
NextGo – an entry-level service for cost-conscious customers where small and hatchback vehicles are used.
NextRide – an affordable service that makes use of entry-level sedans.
NextPro and NextPro Woman – this service features luxury sedans with male or female drivers.
NextWoman – a service for women that is safe and secure and makes use of sedans.