Uber has announced its expansion into over 21 smaller cities and towns across South Africa, making Uber available in over 40 cities across the country, and serving more than 80% of the urban populations. Meaning more drivers have access to earning opportunities and more riders have an affordable, convenient and reliable travel solution throughout South Africa, at the tap of a button.
Riders will be able to request a ride in Polokwane, Cape West Coast (Vredenburg, Saldanha, Langebaan), Mbombela (previously Nelspruit), Newcastle, Mthatha, Thohoyandou, Upington, Margate, Richards Bay, Welkom, Phuthaditjhaba, Ermelo, Queenstown, Garden Route (Mossel Bay, George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay), Kimberley, Emalahleni, Middelburg, Worcester, Rustenburg, Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp, making Uber available in all nine provinces in South Africa.
Riders in these cities will have the option to request Uber’s best-priced mobility option, Uber Go, with trips starting at R16* and makes use of smaller, fuel-efficient hatchback vehicles, or the original UberX category, with trips starting from R18*. No matter where riders are heading to, they will always receive an upfront price estimate, which means that they never have to wonder.
“Uber is committed to keeping riders moving and drivers earning and despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic in the last year, we are seeing signs of recovery as more consumers are riding with us again,” says Frans Hiemstra, General Manager for Uber in Sub-Saharan Africa. “We’re bullish that we can deliver strong growth as we continue to unlock opportunities through the Uber platform and our entry into these new cities is testament to our investment in South Africa”.
Improving safety in communities
Uber is committed to improving access to transportation for riders in smaller cities, focusing on affordability and safety. Uber has introduced safety tools at users’ fingertips that sets them apart from some of the other competitors such as the Safety Toolkit. This innovative feature includes access to an in-app emergency button that connects the driver or rider to third-party security or medical assistance, a first for the industry, and Trusted Contacts that allow riders to share their trip status with up to five selected contacts. All drivers, before they start, need to go through a background check, which goes beyond any legal requirement in South Africa and is industry-leading.
Uber has further developed safety mechanisms in response to COVID-19, including a pre-trip safety checklist, world-first mask recognition technology and financial assistance to drivers who had been placed on quarantine by a medical professional.
During this crisis, platforms like Uber can fuel an economic recovery by quickly giving people flexible work to get back on their feet. At a time when we need more jobs, not fewer, Uber is providing locals with the opportunity to become small business owners.
Since launch, Uber has provided earnings opportunity for over 13 000 active driver-partners**, and through this expansion more South Africans will have a chance at economic growth. Uber’s technology is open and pro-choice, meaning the app is available to a broad number of transport operators to boost their occupancy rates and chances for profit.
Most importantly, they have empowered female drivers to get behind the wheel through various initiatives including the Women Rider Preferred feature.
Reflecting on the launch in the new cities, Hiemstra adds:
“Uber’s ambition is to be everywhere – any progressive, forward-thinking city that needs safe, reliable and efficient transportation, we want to be there. We are excited to launch in these cities, and look forward to expanding into more cities in the coming months”.
Drivers who are interested in signing up to the Uber platform in these cities can visit https://www.uber.com/za/en/drive/requirements/ for more information or signup directly at https://www.uber.com/za/en/ DM/ML
* These are starting prices – Prices for rides may vary per city –