By Adedapo Adesanya
Ride-sharing giant, Uber, has announced the launch of several new products and features in Nigeria as well as other sub-Saharan African countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire.
The launch, which took place simultaneously in various locations across Sub-Saharan African markets, also showcased the latest addition to its suite of security features.
Speaking at the event, Uber SSA Managing Director Mr Kagiso Khaole said the brand was excited to expand to eight more cities in September in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.
“As we prepare to mark our 10th anniversary next year, we are excited to move to more cities enabling people to go anywhere and get everything. Our commitment to raising the bar on safety remains relentless and we continue to work hard to grow the over 3 million revenue opportunities we have created so far,” he said.
In Nigeria, Uber will now operate in Owerri and Akure in Nigeria and expand operations to Eldoret, Kisumu, Nakuru and Naivasha in Kenya; and Tamale and Sunyani in Ghana.
Uber says it’s part of its commitment to the region and signals more opportunities for more drivers to earn, while passengers have convenient and reliable travel options at the push of a button.
To help reduce costs for passengers and increase demand for drivers, Uber launched UberX Share in Ghana and Nigeria, and Uber ChapChap Share in Kenya.
Uber’s shared rides offer saves riders up to 30% off the trip fare when paired with a co-rider heading in the same direction, and when a match isn’t possible, they can always save 5% of their ride.
Speaking on the subject, Mr. Khaole said: “The introduction of UberX Share allows us to proudly demonstrate the power of our platform, understanding the ability to match passengers’ destinations while providing convenience and affordable price. We are a global company that builds locally; and in Ghana, we have tapped into the local carpooling culture on our travels, making this product a perfect fit for the market.
He also launched UberXL in Nairobi, Kenya, to make it easier to travel across the city with a full crew. This option accommodates up to six people, which is ideal for airports and business trips where extra luggage space may be required. In South Africa, passengers can now book their group travel 30 days in advance with UberXL Reserve and Uber Van Reserve.
Uber Comfort, which is currently available in South Africa and Ivory Coast, will now be available in Ghana. This bespoke offering is designed for riders looking for an upgrade to their daily ride with added comfort. Uber Comfort drivers are known for providing excellent service, while demonstrating friendliness, courtesy and professionalism.
Uber Connect, one of the most popular products in the app, available in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana. This will soon be available in two more cities in Nigeria.
Uber Connect is an on-demand delivery solution that allows users to send and receive packages quickly. The feature is integrated with PIN verification giving users peace of mind that their package is being delivered to the right person.
The company said this would help it take a stand for safety.
“Security is at the heart of how we do business and we are proud to announce three new security features to help improve the user experience,” Mr. Khaole said.
Other products include an audio recording driver in South Africa. With this, Uber will now allow passengers and drivers to use the app to record and share audio of their trip as evidence in the event of a security incident – something drivers have requested based on their feedback during the round tables. This new opt-in audio recording feature, which is being tested in Pretoria and Johannesburg, has been successful in parts of the United States and Latin America where Uber operates.
The in-app emergency service in Nigeria was also launched. The company has partnered with Sety to provide on-demand security and medical response to passengers and drivers while traveling. This collaboration will also provide access to a private security response unit closest to their location, using a connected device.
He also announced a security check across the SSA. This feature encourages riders to complete their safety profile by activating and using available features such as Trusted Contacts, PIN Verification and RideCheck. This is available in all SSA countries where Uber operates.