APP-based taxi service Uber has set itself the ambitious target of creating 15,000 jobs in SA by 2017 despite the country’s slim economic growth prospects.
Ironically taxi associations, particularly metered cab companies, have bemoaned Uber’s entry into the South African market and cited its competitive pricing as not only a cause for concern but also of job losses.
A regular metered cab trip from Rosebank to OR Tambo International Airport costs R450, while Uber charges R188.
Also, taxi associations have complained bitterly about Uber allegedly by-passing certain operating licence laws, which they are obliged to adhere to.
The Uber app is linked to a client’s credit card, eliminating the need for a cash transaction making it a convenient service for both drivers and customers.
In the first six months to Wednesday, Uber had made 2-million passenger trips in SA.
This is double the number of trips made throughout last year, says Uber sub-Saharan Africa GM Alon Lits.
In 2013, SA became the only country outside of the US in which the company operated in more than two cities — Uber has a presence in more than 300 cities worldwide.
In SA, it operates in Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
In addition to the credit card option, Uber users in SA can make use of VCPay — a virtual credit card.
Users deposit cash into a VCPay account at a supermarket till point which is linked to their Uber profiles.
It would cost a person R4,500 a month to use the cheaper UberX service to commute within Johannesburg, which is 20% cheaper than using a car, says Mr Lits.
Costs can decrease depending on the number of people sharing a single fare — for example friends or family using the service together — making it an attractive option to working parents who struggle to ferry their children to and from school.
In Durban, Uber has a median waiting time of 4.6 minutes.
Cairo, Nairobi, and Lagos are Uber’s other African markets.