Today Uber (www.uber.com) announced the launch of multiple new products and features which are going live this month in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria. The launch, which took place simultaneously across various locations in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), also showcased Audio Recording, the latest addition to its suite of safety features.
Speaking at the event, General Manager for Uber SSA, Kagiso Khaole said the brand is pleased to be expanding into eight more cities during September across Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.
“As we gear ourselves to mark our 10th year anniversary next year, we are excited about moving into more cities enabling people to go anywhere and can get anything. Our commitment to raising the bar on safety remains relentless and we continue to work hard to grow the over 3 million earnings opportunities we have created thus far.”
Eight new cities and counting
Uber will now be operational in Owerri and Akure in Nigeria; Eldoret, Kisumu, Nakuru and Naivasha in Kenya; and Tamale and Sunyani in Ghana. These expansions are testament to Uber’s commitment to the region and signal more opportunities for more drivers to earn, while riders have convenient and reliable travel options at the tap of a button. In these expansions Uber brings a diverse product mix that is able to best serve the needs of the city residents.
More economical options for riders
To help reduce costs for riders and increase demand for drivers, Uber is launching UberX Share in Ghana and Nigeria, and Uber ChapChap Share in Kenya. Uber’s shared rides offering allows riders to save up to 30% of the trip fare when matched with a co-rider heading in the same direction, and where a match is not possible, they will still be able to save 5% from their ride.
“The introduction of UberX Share allows us to proudly demonstrate the power of our platform, understanding the ability to match rider destinations while delivering convenience and affordability. We are a global company that builds locally; and in Ghana, we tapped into the local culture of car-pooling when moving around, which makes this product a great fit for the market,” says Khaole.
Travelling across the city with an entire crew has never been easier, with the launch of UberXL in Nairobi, Kenya. This option provides seating for up to six people which is great for airport and business trips where extra luggage space may be required. In South Africa, riders can now reserve their group travel 30 days in advance with UberXL Reserve and Uber Van Reserve.
Uber Comfort, which is currently available in South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire, will now be available in Ghana. This bespoke offering is designed for riders looking for an upgrade to their everyday ride with extra comfort. Drivers on Uber Comfort are known to provide excellent service, while exhibiting friendliness, courtesy and professionalism.
Uber Connect, one of the app’s most popular products available in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana; will soon be available in two additional cities in Nigeria. Uber Connect is an on-demand delivery solution that allows users to send and receive packages with speed. The feature comes built-in with a PIN verification providing users peace of mind that their package is being delivered to the right person.
Taking a stand for safety
“Safety is at the core of how we do business and we are proud to announce three new safety features to help improve the experience of users”, says Khaole.
- Audio Recording pilot in South Africa: Uber will now allow riders and drivers to use the app to record and share audio of their trip as evidence in the case of a safety incident – something that drivers have been asking for based on their feedback from roundtable sessions. This new opt-in audio recording feature, which is being piloted in Pretoria and Johannesburg, has been successful in the US and Latin American regions where Uber has a presence.
- In-app emergency service in Nigeria: Uber is working with Sety in Nigeria, to provide on-demand security and medical response for riders and drivers while on a trip. This collaboration will also provide access to a private security response unit closest to their location, using a connected device.
- Safety Check Up across SSA: This feature encourages riders to complete their safety profile by turning on and utilising the available features such as Trusted Contacts, PIN verification and RideCheck. This is available in all the countries within SSA where Uber operates.
At the launch, Uber Eats reinforced its aspiration of building an app of the future by creating a virtual mall experience that goes beyond just food. “Other categories we have ventured into include convenience stores, pharmacy outlets, alcohol and retail and this shows us that the possibilities are endless,” says Cikida Gcali-Mabusela, Head of New Verticals for Uber Eats Sub-Saharan Africa.
Uber Eats continues to push beyond boundaries with the adoption of the growing trend of dark stores, which gives non-traditional merchants opportunities to tap into unchartered markets that they wouldn’t have easily accessed.
Uber Eats currently operates in South Africa and Kenya. Kui Mbugua, General Manager for Uber Eats Kenya says, ‘With a 67% year on year growth of subscriptions on Eats, we are humbled and encouraged by expansion that we have seen in the South Africa and Kenya markets.
“The future of logistics and technology in emerging markets looks promising. Our overall vision continues to be to build locally using global experience and become a one-stop-shop for delivery needs. Not only is Uber Eats creating unique earning earning opportunities, but our operations also have a positive knock-on effect for restaurants, merchants, and delivery people. Looking ahead, we are committed to leading the category by investing in product and access, while leveraging the power of the platform,” concludes Kui.