When Uber arrived in Africa 8 years ago, no one could have predicted how the e-hailing service would transform urban mobility. Uber has radically changed how people are opting to travel, and has at the same time helped address urban mobility challenges in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) – allowing people to move smarter by embracing technology.
With seamless technology in place in more than 54 cities across seven countries in SSA there is no denying that Uber has quickly become a significant role player in the tourism industry. Uber has complemented the public transportation system, therefore playing a significant role in stimulating the tourism economy by increasing flexible economic opportunities to over 46 000 drivers in Sub Saharan Africa.
This is especially true in South Africa where, in the relatively short space, Uber has established a strong presence in over 40 cities and towns, covering 80% of the urban population and creating over 13 000 economic opportunities and moving more than 250 000 people affordably and conveniently to their desired destinations.
While the tourism and hospitality industry has been the hardest hit we are starting to see recovery, especially with locals moving around more. The mobility business is rapidly recovering to pre-covid levels, particularly in markets like South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.
With Uber’s expansion into 21 smaller cities and towns across South Africa this year and the launch of Uber Go, a more affordable mobility option, locals and tourists can travel to more destinations, safely and reliably.
Hygiene and personal safety is another key factor driving the increase in numbers of locals and tourists requesting Uber to get them to their destinations. While driver error and road accidents can never be entirely eradicated, the technology on which the Uber offering is built makes it one of the more secure solutions for riders and drivers alike. Uber ensures Covid-19 protocols are followed and gets people into quality approved vehicles, driven by screened and qualified drivers, quickly and efficiently. It also removes the need to carry cash (unless preferred) and there is no standing in the street to hail a cab or struggling to find the nearest bus stop late at night.
Trackable GPS-based technology of Uber is also a further safety measure that gives comfort to riders who may otherwise have been nervous about getting lost in a strange city or area. Riders can not only share their full details and estimated arrival times with others but they also receive detailed information about their driver, vehicle and route before they ever have to step inside the vehicle. Users also have access to an in-app emergency button linked to private security.
As we have grown our footprint across SSA and plan to expand further, travel in these countries has been made easier than it has ever been before. We believe Uber has a critical role to play in helping revive local economies and supporting the recovery of the tourism sector.
Our overall vision for the SSA continues to be to build locally using global experience, and become a one-stop-shop for transportation and delivery needs so that your phone can replace your personal car. SSA is perfect for this space as we tap into local modes of transport.