Senegal’s taxi industry set to gain an eco-conscious option with the Ping! app

Could the natural evolution of public transport include a fleet of hybrid cars for every city?

While a number of independent app-based taxi services are navigating the market in the bloom of Uber’s unique success, few of them bring something new to the terrain. Now, Senegalese company Ping! is taking the business of public taxi transport to an ecological level. This service fights pollution while providing a convenient trip across city.

Their business model is shaped by the 21st-century consciousness about the environment – the finite and ultimately harmful nature of fossil fuel-based car engines make them unsustainable. Ping’s service consists of hybrid cars exclusively, which run on a low-emission mixture of ethanol and petroleum.

The company runs a unique fleet of eco-friendly cars to service the ecologically-minded consumer. Founded by entrepreneur Adam Martel Brown, this taxi service aims to turn back the alarmingly high levels of pollution in congested urban areas such as those in Dakar while matching the convenience of a service like Uber.  

While some may celebrate the ethos of Ping! as a reflection of modern design thinking to reduce humanity’s toxic impact on the planet, the service does have a few obstacles built into its design. Some critics have pointed out that since Ping! would have to own each of the special hybrid vehicles that constitute its fleet, it diminishes access to the core benefit that has made Uber a meteoric success (which is the lack of infrastructure cost, since individual car owners can form part of the Uber network).

By starting out with a considerable overhead cost, Ping! would have to raise the price of each journey higher than its competitors have to. Moreover, the network of cars would be much smaller than the likes of regular taxi services for the same reason and thus the consumer will probably have to wait longer to take a ride in an eco-friendly Ping! car than a conventional petrol-based one.

This service remains a valuable step in the direction of including nature-minded alternatives to commercial transport services and its success will rely on the consumers of Senegal’s devotion to a greener future.

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