Uber recently launched a more affordable option of its ride-hailing service in South Africa called UberNAM.
This new budget offering is set to take on a similar service from the company’s biggest local competitor – Bolt.
Initially available in select areas of Gauteng and Cape Town, as well as all Uber locations in Durban, UberNAM will gradually be rolled out across South Africa in the coming weeks.
Uber South Africa told MyBroadband its research and data showed the pricing of its current services was a barrier which has been further exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Since launching UberNAM, we have received a positive response from both riders and drivers, and it has opened up access to Uber to new riders,” the company said.
UberNAM drivers are allowed to operate with hatchbacks, whereas UberX and UberBLACK only permit the use of sedans – including the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Almera.
Current Uber drivers are allowed to opt-in to the service, while the company has now also allowed the following vehicles to operate on this option:
- Ford Figo
- VW Polo and Polo Vivo hatchbacks
- Toyota Yaris, Etios hatchback and sedan
- Honda Brio
- Suzuki Dzire, Celerio (hatchback)
- Renault Megane
- Kia Picanto
- Mazda 3
- Nissan Micra
- Hyundai i10, i20
In order to see how the new service compared with Bolt Go, we requested fare estimates for nine trips with each operator on their respective apps.
This included three trips in each of the three locations in which both services are available.
To ensure a fair comparison, we ensured that we selected the same starting and arrival destinations, while also keeping the bookings to the same time of day.
Similar to our previous findings with their standard services, Bolt Go was cheaper for most trips and also had a cheaper average price – at R121 per trip compared to R145 on UberNAM.
The biggest difference was on a 50km trip from V&A Waterfront to Boulders Beach, which was priced at R308 on UberNAM compared with R216 on Bolt Go.
This R92 discrepancy means that UberNAM was around 42% more expensive in this instance.
It was still significantly cheaper than the standard UberX service, which was estimated to cost R420.
Notably, however, UberNAM was more affordable in Durban, narrowly edging Bolt Go with an average fare of R136 as opposed to R143.
Overall, across all trips, Bolt Go worked out to around R5.58 per km, while UberNAM cost R6.70 per km.
The table below shows the total and average distances covered on all nine of the trips we used as well as the total and averages prices on each option.
|Average price per trip||R145||R121|
Below are the starting and arrival locations, distances, and fair estimates for the trips we requested on UberNAM and Bolt Go.
|Midrand and Soweto trips|
|Midstream Mediclinic -> Mall of Africa||18.6km||R136||R105|
|Boulders Shopping Centre -> Kyalami Corner Shopping Centre||7.2km||R60||R54|
|FNB Stadium -> Soweto Towers||9.7km||R76||R58|
|Cape Town area trips|
|Rhebokskloof Wine Estate -> Franschoek Wine Tram||43.3km||R269||R183|
|Somerset Mall -> Strand Pavilion||5.5km||R49||R39|
|V&A Waterfront -> Boulders Beach||49.7km||R308||R216|
|Durban area trips|
|uShaka Marine World -> King Shaka International Airport||34km||R229||R225|
|Durban University of Technology City Campus -> Moses Mabhida Stadium||5.6km||R42||R58|
|Hilton Durban -> Isipingo Bech||20.9km||R136||R147|