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The ride-hailing firm ZayRide has announced its partnership with a motorcycle ride-hailing startup Addis Motor Taxi, enabling users to book motorcycles through the ZayRide platform.

The partnership, which was signed on March 1st, 2023, aims to enable the two companies to leverage each other’s strengths, ensuring that their services are more reliable, accessible, and affordable to a broader range of customers in Addis Ababa and other regional cities of Ethiopia.

Customers will be able to book motorcycles for transportation and delivery services through the ZayRide app and call center (6303), as well as the Addis Motor Taxi app and call center (9530).

“We are excited to be working with Addis Motor Taxi and bringing our technology platform to their customers,” said Habtamu Tadesse, founder, and CEO of ZayRide.

“We believe that by partnering with Addis Motor Taxi, we can provide an even better service to our customers,” he added. 

Addis Motor Taxi is a new entrant to the sector that launched its services in June 2022, betting on motorcycles. Offering solutions for faster transport, Addis Motor believes it can standardize the motorcycle transport service that has been informal thus far.

“Through this partnership, we will be able to provide a more seamless and efficient service while expanding our reach and customer base,” said Fuad Abdella, Founder & CEO of Addis Motor Taxi. 

Per the agreement, Addis Motor will keep its brand, and “Addis Motor Taxi” will be enlisted as one of the transportation options under the ZayRide platform, which also includes economy cars, sedans, and vans. ZayRide will also avail its infrastructure to Addis Motor, and the two companies will operate based on a revenue-sharing model.

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According to Habtamu, motorcycle hailing is around 25pc cheaper on average than vehicle hailing, and drivers will be given training on safety, traffic rules, customer handling, and security before being onboarded.

“Motorcycles have a bad image in Addis Ababa, unlike other African countries where they are the preferred modes of transportation.” It’s our duty to lift the image and show the government how motor transportation could be effectively monitored and regulated while the state gets more income through tax and the residents get an additional form of public transportation,” added Habtamu.

Addis Ababa still has a standing ban on motorcycles carrying passengers, which was passed in 2022. Addis Motor, which has onboarded close to 2,000 drivers on its platform, has only been providing delivery services.

However, the Addis Ababa Traffic Management Agency (TMA) is departing from this total ban and allowing a select few motorcycle drivers to carry passengers.

“The Agency is now deploying a very rigorous procedure to allow motorcycles under ride-hailing platforms to carry passengers. They are giving out temporary two-month permits. This is a good start, and we believe the permits will have a longer lifespan as the administration is now experimenting,” said Fuad.

“60 of our drivers have received the new permits, and we are working on increasing this number,” he added.

ZayRide is also operational in Hawassa and Bahir Dar. The collaboration, signed for five years, aims to extend its reach to these and other regional cities but will start in Addis Ababa first.

Motorbikes have been common in Ethiopia’s delivery business, but their usage on ride-hailing platforms is new, despite the practice being popular in other parts of Africa and Asia.

The Uganda-based SafeBoda and the Indonesian ride-hailing unicorn Gojek are among the motorcycle ride-sharing platforms that have dominated their respective markets and expanded to new countries.

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Kaleab Girma, an Addis Ababa-based reporter and researcher, with over six years of experience in the field. He currently serves as Shega's Editor-in-Chief and specializes in reporting on small businesses, innovation, technology, and startups in Ethiopia.

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