Jane Mlambo| Barely six months after its introduction to the Zimbabwean market, Vaya has virtually become every individual’s mobility choice, and every business’ logistics services partner.
Commercially launched in October 2018 as the first ever ‘Uber type’ ride hailing service in the country, Vaya has grown phenomenally in market size, with officials reporting in February that the service – which is now in every major city and town in Zimbabwe – had choked up 10 000 partner drivers, who give Vaya rides to an estimated 100 000 urban customers per week.
Cassava Smartech CEO Mr Eddie Chibi, whose Cassava On Demand Services business has been responsible for rolling out Vaya services, said the market reception of Vaya had been remarkable.
“Its take-off has been nothing short of remarkable, if you consider that Vaya has not even been on the market for a year; it has been around for only six months,” said Mr Chibi, speaking at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), where Cassava is showcasing several Vaya services.
But if Vaya’s market growth has been remarkable, its products and service growth has been even more exceptional.
From starting with Vaya Premium at launch, Vaya’s On Demand suite of services has quickly grown to include a bouquet of services falling under Vaya Mobility, and another falling under Vaya Logistics.
Said Ms Dorothy Zimuto, CEO of Cassava On Demand services, explaining the breath of services they offer:
“We have got Vaya Mobility and Vaya Logistics. Vaya Mobility incorporates our hail riding services that transport people. These include Vaya Premium Car Service, Vaya Carpool, Vaya Shuttle, Vaya Hopper, and Vaya Ambulance.”
Vaya Shuttle has already become a hit with visitors to the Trade Fair following Vaya’s bold promotional offer to ferry all visitors flying to the Trade Fair in Bulawayo from the Airport for free.
Ms Zimuto said the only other offer in town that came close to beating the free airport shuttles was the free, 3-wheeler Vaya ‘Hopper rides’ that the company has made available at the Trade Fair.
“These are for the convenience of exhibitors, business and individual visitors as they move from one stand to another at the vast Trade Fair grounds,” Ms Zimuto said.
She said Vaya Mobility would soon be launching Vaya Rural and a Vaya Intercity Bus Schedule, Vaya Touring and Safaris, Vaya Air Services, Vaya School Shuttle and Vaya Cross Border Service.
Turning to Vaya Logistics, Ms Zimuto described it as the Vaya business portfolio that transports goods and services.
“Vaya Logistics offers Vaya Express Delivery, Vaya Van Delivery, Vaya Truck, Vaya Tractor, Vaya Breadown, which is Roadside Rescue,” she said, adding that Vaya Logistics would soon add Vaya Haulage Trucks to its service suite and Vaya Clean City.
Nearly all the Vaya services now being launched have gone through quiet but rigorous pilot testing, to eliminate bugs and validate their use cases ahead of commercial launches.
Ms Zimuto cited Vaya Tractors as an example, saying the tractors had already been actively deployed in the Cyclone-hit Chimanimani and Chipinge areas of Manicaland, and were being used to work in partnership with government agencies and local authorities, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other disaster relief partners to deliver vital logistical support to the local communities.
“Our tractors are still very much involved with the rehabilitation work on the ground there, but as the winter ploughing season approaches, Vaya Tractor services will be scaled up and fully launched across the country for tillage services,” Ms Zimuto said.
Similarly, she said Vaya Logistics was already being used in aid-distribution in the Cyclone-hit areas, and wholesalers and small merchants were also already using Vaya Logistics for deliveries in pilots being run in Bulawayo and Harare.
Meanwhile, Mr Chibi lauded Vaya Mobility and Logistics partners for seeing the business opportunity in the ‘shared economy’ through partnerships, and for being early adopters.
“We at Cassava have always said we see opportunity in solving people’s problems, and these problems – or opportunities – can be customer needs, or they can come as value-creation opportunities through strategic partnerships,” said the Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe CEO.
He encouraged Vaya end-user customers to try the services, saying a key differentiator for the app-based Vaya services was safety, security, convenience and value for money “at the push of a button”, adding that all Vaya services came with easy payment options of Ecocash, cash, or any international credit card.