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Having fun, writing about the stuff I like

Uber hits South Africa

Oscar Foulkes August 29, 2013 Uncategorized No comments
It seems hard to believe that the word ‘uber’ has never been pressed into service as a brand name. Even less believable then, that it has now made an appearance in the world of websites and apps, where odd spelling and made-up words are de rigeur.

I read about Uber a few weeks ago, when Google Ventures had just invested $258 million in the company.

My assumption was that it would be years before they hit South Africa, but I discovered this morning that they’re already testing the service here. I immediately downloaded the app and signed up.

OK, so my comments are from someone who hasn’t yet used the service (i.e. who hasn’t waited in the rain for an hour because of a snafu). Based purely on the super-clear and easy-to-use app (not to mention the gorgeously beautiful home page on their website), I am seriously impressed.

The app makes use of the phone’s location-based functions to indicate my current position, and displays how long I’d have to wait to be picked up. I love this feature, because it saves me phoning three taxi companies to find out which one can get here in 25 instead of 45 minutes.

Billing is done to the credit card that is loaded on the account, and for shared rides the fare can be split between passengers. The base charge (flag rate) is R12 (instead of taxis’ R5), but the R9 per km charge is on par with the lowest around (the rates have subsequently increased, in line with the premium service, but remain within generally available pricing).

If you use this link to sign up you’ll get R90 off your first ride (disclosure: I get R90, too).

The kicker for people who travel a lot is that Uber is ‘global’, so there’s no need to scratch around for a local taxi service. Simply land, open the app, tap, and off you go.

I am über-impressed!

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