At the beginning of this month, Vaya promised they would ferry doctors and nurses to hospitals for free for a period of 30 days. They announced it ahead of the launch of Vaya Carpool and Vaya Shuttle which were scheduled to take off on the 15th of this month. That’s the time from which Vaya promised the free trial would be rolled out. Vaya Carpool being a service whereby people can share cars. The Vaya Shuttle service uses minibuses. For a while now Vaya had also been testing out the Vaya Corporate Shuttle service. The test run has been conducted by ferrying Econet employees to and fro work. This particular service is strategic for the ferrying to and fro work for corporate employees. There has also been mention of conducting test runs for Vaya School Shuttle service. The two services i.e. Vaya Carpool and Vaya Shuttle have since been launched.

A Brief Look At Vaya

Vaya Africa which falls under Cassava Smartech (a subsidiary of Econet Global), specializes on ride-hailing services. The group initially started off with Vaya Lift but has diversified into several other services. They have since added several other unique services such as Vaya Shuttle, Vaya Club, Vaya Hooper and Vaya Carpool. Vaya is the biggest mass transportation company in Zimbabwe that specializes in ride-sharing services. Their platform now locally has over 25 000 drivers that have registered their vehicles there (from small vehicles to trucks).

Vaya Makes Good On Its Promise

Vaya said it recognizes the important role played by doctors and nurses in the health sector. Given the prevailing harsh economic climate, these health personnel have been some of the hardest hit. So the offering of free shuttles for doctors and nurses for a whole month is just the Vaya team’s way of appreciating their service to the nation. Cassava, the parent company under which Vaya falls will remunerate the drivers for the 30-day period. Actually, all employees working at registered hospitals and clinics shall benefit from this gesture. Here’s how the process is being done:

Hospitals or clinics apply to use the service so that they register every eligible employee. Upon being registered every employee will get a digital pass that they’ll use to get on the mini buses. Every employee will have to have the Vaya app installed on their phone so that they can append their digital pass. The services used will either be Vaya Shuttle or Vaya Carpool depending on the segmentation or designations of the staff.

Vaya CEO, Dorothy Zimuto has indicated that free service for the doctors, nurses and public healthcare personnel is now full throttle. At least 400 buses are being used for this 30-day free service. She also said that they did their best to ensure all hospitals and clinics in the country are catered for. What I find remarkable about this is how multi-purpose it is. Not only is Vaya offering a free service which is more or less a form of corporate social responsibility. They are also using that same exercise to assess the performance of the new services they have just introduced. Over and above that they’re giving people a taste of services that they’ll most probably use later even after the free service period. From a business point of view what they’re doing is a unique and effective way to launch new products or services.

Other Initiatives

Clean City is a subsidiary of Vaya – actually, it operates using the digital platform Vaya services run on. Clean City has commenced the collection of refuse in Harare by use of private trucks. Companies operating as franchises that focus on waste collection are also part of this initiative. There are plans to roll out the service to the rest of the country by the end of November.

The widespread use of Vaya services has the potential to cut back on fuel demand by as much as 50%. Vaya says that the Vaya Carpool and Vaya Shuttle are central to making that a reality. Vaya is living up to its billing as a potential game-changer in the mass transportation and logistics sector in Zimbabwe. It’s amazing how they have far exceeded the initial concept of Uber from which they drew inspiration. I can’t help but also remark on the ingenious strategies Vaya is using to introduce new services. There are lots of business lessons to learn from how Vaya is doing business.