Uber Launches New Products, Expands to Akure, Owerri
By Adedapo Adesanya
Ride-hailing giant, Uber, has announced the launch of multiple new products and features in Nigeria as well as other Sub-Saharan African countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and Côte d’Ivoire.
The launch, which took place simultaneously across various locations in Sub-Saharan Africa markets, also showcased the latest addition to its suite of safety features.
Speaking at the event, General Manager for Uber SSA, Mr Kagiso Khaole, said the brand was 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,” he said.
In Nigeria, Uber will now be operational in Owerri and Akure in Nigeria and will expand its operations to Eldoret, Kisumu, Nakuru and Naivasha in Kenya; and Tamale and Sunyani in Ghana.
Uber say this is part of its commitment to the region and signals more opportunities for more drivers to earn, while riders have convenient and reliable travel options at the tap of a button.
To help reduce costs for riders and increase demand for drivers, Uber launched UberX Share in Ghana and Nigeria, and Uber ChapChap Share in Kenya.
Uber’s shared rides offering allows riders to save up to 30 per cent 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 per cent from their ride.
Speaking on this, Mr Khaole said — “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.”
It also launched UberXL in Nairobi, Kenya to make travelling across the city with an entire crew has less easier. 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. This 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.
The company said this will help it take 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 Mr Khaole.
Among the other products is an Audio Recording pilot in South Africa. With this, 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.
Also launched was the in-app emergency service in Nigeria. The firm has partnered with Sety 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.
It also announced 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.