Uber hikes prices in South Africa to battle rising petrol costs

Ride-hailing service Uber has increased its charges in South Africa to account for rising fuel prices, the company has told MyBroadband.

Uber’s head of mobility operations for Sub-Saharan Africa, Kagiso Khaole, said the company took the economics of running a business and the concerns of its drivers around inflationary pressures seriously.

“Our commitment is to continuously find ways of maximising drivers’ earning potential while meeting the needs of riders,” Khaole said.

Khaole explained the prevailing volatility of fuel prices around the globe had impacted the cost of moving people and goods.

“With this in mind, we have increased prices on the app to account for the blow of inflationary increases,” Khaole stated.

“Our goal is to maintain a holistic view on these inflationary pressures to ensure that the platform remains economically viable for drivers.”

“As always, riders will see the price of a trip before booking their journey,” Khaole added.

Uber said that drivers were informed of the price increase and it would continue to monitor the situation closely and gather feedback from drivers and riders to inform future changes.

The increases come after Uber in the US announced a special fuel surcharge would be added to fees to help drivers deal with the rising cost of filling up.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed up fuel prices around the world. The former is the world’s second-biggest exporter of oil, after Saudi Arabia.

Forty-eight countries bought Russian crude oil worth $123 billion in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and severely constrained demand.

But many of them have stopped importing Russian oil as part of sanctions imposed in opposition to the country’s military action in Ukraine.

South Africans are set to feel the impact of the oil price increase, with mid-month data released by the Central Energy Fund showing big hikes at the pumps next month.

According to the data, the following price adjustments are expected for April:

  • 93 unleaded petrol – Increase of R2.19 per litre
  • 95 unleaded petrol – Increase of R2.27 per litre
  • 500ppm diesel – Increase of R3.12 per litre
  • 50ppm diesel – Increase of R3.26 per litre
  • Illuminating Paraffin – Increase of R2.66 per litre

Energy department deputy-director for mineral and petroleum regulation Tseliso Maqubela said that these pricing predictions might not come true at the start of next month.

“There are signs that the peace talks are bearing fruit. So we actually are quite excited about that prospect,” Maqubela said.

“We don’t like predictions mid-month because a lot can change, and a lot actually has changed.”

Now read: South Africa’s petrol price formula to be reviewed — but a hike can’t be stopped

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Uber hikes prices in South Africa to battle rising petrol costs