Uber, the innovative app that connects riders with drivers, has enabled the economic empowerment of drivers, passenger safety and service of transport, transforming the way users think about their transportation options in South Africa. Uber has already created over 2,000 jobs across the country since launching in late 2013.
Uber’s lead generation software facilitates a powerful entrepreneurship opportunity. Every month, Uber empowers hundreds of entrepreneurs to become small business owners in South Africa. This contributes significantly to the 50,000+ global entrepreneurs who are empowered monthly on the Uber platform.
Existing transport operators and drivers are also partnering with Uber as a means of growing their business and bringing in the consumer, partner and transparency-related benefits.
“Uber does not own any vehicles nor do we employ any drivers, we are a technology company that connects riders with drivers in their area. What this means is that all cars are privately owned and the drivers work for themselves. Some of our partner-drivers own their own cars, others buy a couple of cars and then employ drivers. Rider choice and driver opportunity is at the core of what Uber does. We are proud to be empowering hundreds of entrepreneurs every month in South Africa,” says Alon Lits, General Manager, Uber Johannesburg and Durban.
Traditionally the metered taxi industry is one where drivers are salaried employees working specified shifts, without much freedom. For partner-drivers, the technology behind Uber changes the way people live and work for the better, allowing for more flexibility in their workday.
Feedback from partner-drivers in South Africa is that they love working on the Uber system because it empowers them to become their own boss, to make more money and to grow their business quickly.
Piko Mzamo, an uberX partner driver in Cape Town, says: “Since I've worked on the Uber system, it has been a great opportunity for everyone – drivers and riders. There's been job creation and additional business opportunities for drivers, and it is safe and reliable for customers. It is also cashless which is safe for the drivers. It is good for the City of Cape Town because customers and drivers feel safe using Uber.”
Siyabonga Nxumalo, a former lifeguard and now an UberBlack driver in Durban, says: “I tried to start up my own business, but it didn’t work out and I was in debt. I joined Uber in December 2013 and have now paid off all my debt, and I can put food on the table. Uber gave me the chance to re-establish myself, it is a life changer. I am a businessman, so I want to get more cars and start to employ other drivers soon. I love the whole Uber experience, especially being able to get my passengers home safely. Uber is the future.”
Kevin Dube, a former dispatch operator from Johannesburg and now an UberBlack driver, says: “I love the Uber system. It does everything for you and is completely cashless, which makes it very easy to focus on providing first class service to my customers. The entrepreneurship part of Uber is really exciting for me. It has allowed me to grow very quickly. I joined Uber in May 2014 and already have two cars, which means I am also creating employment for others.”
Jonathan Harris, an uberX driver based in the Cape Town city centre, says: “I have been in the taxi industry for five years as a driver. Now that I am using Uber as a platform, I have an ongoing work flow. Uber has really changed how I work, it is amazing. I also love that 95% of my customers are local and not tourists. It just shows how much people love Uber here.”
Uber partner-drivers also have the opportunity to benefit from and leverage the various partnerships that Uber has developed.
Anthony le Roux, General Manager, Uber Cape Town, says that Uber is focused on delivering as much value from the platform to partner-drivers as possible, and it will continue to support and empower their partner-drivers through greater economic opportunities.
“Uber is using a variety of corporate relationships to ensure that every opportunity and partnership we have developed is available to our partner-drivers. We want to provide them with as many benefits as we can, so they can grow and succeed in their businesses. These opportunities include better financing options, discounts on vehicle ware items and car washes, to name a few,” says le Roux.
Training and upskilling all partner-drivers are important focus areas for Uber, and paramount to its success.
Each partner-driver is taken through an in-depth three step training process, where they learn how the Uber app and GPS navigation system works, various scenarios they might encounter while on the road, and the importance of putting the customer first and how to provide them with the best service possible. Uber provides partner-drivers with a mobile device pre-loaded with the Uber driver app, GPS navigation and data. Uber also offers them one-on-one training on how to use the device if they have any queries.
Talking on the future of Uber in South Africa, le Roux says, “We are immensely proud of the impact Uber has had in South Africa to date, creating over 2,000 jobs across the country since launching in late 2013. The future, however, is significantly more exciting. Uber is fundamentally changing the way that people are moving around their cities and for the first time, creating a viable, cheaper and more efficient alternative to vehicle ownership. This means more riders, more partner-drivers and loads more jobs. If things continue going the way they are, Uber could easily create another 15,000 jobs across South Africa over the next two years.”
Twitter: @uber_joburg | @uber_durban | @uber_ct