Uber has shown exceptional growth in Africa over the last four years, with over 1.8 million active riders across sub-Saharan Africa.
Uber launched in Johannesburg in 2013, and there are now over 969,000 active riders and 12,000 active drivers using the app in South Africa.
“It is clear that Uber has achieved a lot in a short time frame,” it told MyBroadband.
Uber’s strong growth came with a unique set of challenges in South Africa, which includes resistance from metered taxi operators.
The resistance to Uber has resulted in many security problems for the service, with riders and drivers coming under attack.
The company told MyBroadband it is “deeply committed” to the safety of its riders and drivers.
To address the safety concerns of Uber riders and drivers, the company has introduced various interventions:
- The company launched information sessions and workshops for drivers to improve safety.
- Uber partnered with the National Hijack Prevention Academy and SAPS to equip drivers with safety tips.
- It has hired private security response teams in areas such as Gautrain stations.
- Uber partnered with security response services that can dispatch security and medical services in emergency situations.
Know Your Ride
Always take the time to review the safety features available to you in the app. Check that license plate, vehicle colour, driver photo, and driver name all match what’s listed in the app. Rides can only be requested through the Uber app. It’s important to avoid spending unnecessary time outside with your phone in your hand. Rather wait indoors until you are notified through the app that your driver has arrived.
Be a backseat rider
If you’re riding alone, sit in the backseat. This ensures you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and it gives you and your driver some personal space.
This tool is designed to help you get a prompt response to your queries in the shortest time possible. Navigate to the “Help’’ section on the app, which helps riders and driver-partners alike to communicate any concerns they may have during a trip, so that they can get a response as soon as possible.
Follow Your Intuition
When travelling with a driver-partner, you should always be aware of your surroundings, and trust your instincts and judgement, if you feel that something isn’t right. You should be cautious when sharing any personal information and should always confirm that the driver-partner is in fact the one you saw on the app. If ever you feel that you’re in an emergency situation, you are advised to alert the local emergency services immediately.