Uber South Africa has seen continued growth in South Africa, along with a decrease in the number of attacks on drivers.
The ride-hailing app now has around one million active riders in South Africa, with over 12,000 active drivers using the app.
Uber launched in Johannesburg in 2013 and saw strong initial growth, which it says has continued as more South Africans use the platform.
The platform grew so quickly that – after tallying a total of one million trips in 2014 – it had facilitated two million trips in the first six months of 2015.
Uber General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits told MyBroadband he expects the company to continue growing, thanks to the demand for the service in major cities.
He said Gauteng in particular has a lot of potential for growth thanks to the amount of traffic on the roads.
“There is potential in Gauteng for Uber to service at least 2,000 trips per day,” said Lits.
He added that the rise of competitors like Taxify is good for the industry.
“We see competition as a positive thing. It allows drivers to choose the application with the best earning potential and riders to select the app with the easiest and most affordable services,” he said.
Uber also recently added the ability to tip drivers from within the app, a feature which Lits said has been popular with users.
“The tipping option has been received well by both drivers and riders,” he said.
“Tipping is optional and lets riders appreciate drivers who go the extra mile.”
Metered taxi attacks
The success of Uber locally has come with aggression and intimidation from metered taxi drivers, however, which was a major problem for Uber.
It forced the company to implement a number of safety measures in an effort to keep its drivers and riders safe.
Although the number of attacks has decreased, Uber is still working to improve driver and rider safety.
“The number of attacks on Uber drivers have declined, but we are still seeing isolated incidents of violence and intimidation,” said Lits.
The company has private security in place in areas of high intimidation, a cost which is included in the driver’s service fee.
Uber has also implemented multiple security features within the app, including the ability to differentiate between cash and card trips, a panic button, and the ability to share your ride progress and location with others.
Lits added that while Uber is doing all it can to prevent attacks, the police need to step up and actively defend against violence from metered taxi drivers.
“We would like to see more action from the police. We can only do so much, we are not law enforcement,” said Lits.