Uber has had its troubles across the globe since its launch in March 2009. The latest of which is a report that Uber has accidentally underpaid its drivers in New York City over the past two and a half years.
The transportation network company which operates in over 550 cities worldwide connects commuters with divers via a navigation app.
When Uber was introduced in Accra, Ghana, taxi drivers protested at the unfair advantages drivers who register for San Francisco start-up have over the traditional taxis.
The discussion has since been controversial but some taxi drivers have also registered with Uber, using whatever advantage they can have to gain more customers. The question, is it starting a revolution? Is it starting something that that will change our transport systems for good? ok, so as an uber user this is some of the observations I have made about uber in Ghana.
How it works
Drivers register with Uber and download the Uber Driver App.
Users who want to use the services of Uber download the Uber app on their smartphone.
When a user wants to move, they input their destination in the app which gives an approximation of the fare and connects the user to the available driver.
The driver then picks the user up at a ‘Pick Up Location’ and upon arrival at the destination, the fare is shown on both the driver and users app for payment to be done.
The Scale – Uber has a massive scale as it is in almost every country. With that kind of scale, you get economies of scale. Your costs are distributed so you can offer lower pricing. It also provides customers a seamless experience no matter what city you go. This is very important as it provides flexibility to a user to just use one app in all cities. Taxi cabs companies are fragmented so cannot offer such seamless experience.
Supply-side open – Uber platform driver/supply side is open. i.e. virtually anyone can be a driver. This allows for a large volume of decent cars available at all times in a short amount of notice. This results in short wait time (3–7 minutes), which cannot be matched by taxi services due to the low volume of drivers. Not everyone can drive a cab, you need a cab license.
Cost – Uber has low cost because unlike cab services which use manual dispatch, operations it has algorithms that do these things. Thus the overhead of operations is low and is distributed at scale as discussed in point 1. Taxicab services have to pay for dispatchers, phone operators etc. Some cab services do have an app but then they don’t have a scale to distribute costs of making and maintaining an app. Uber prices however are not constant they do change if there is high demand for uber to your location.
Brand – Since Uber is a global brand, customers tend to rely on it and opt for it naturally. For a local cab company with an app, it is hard to gain brand recognition and gain customers.
Customer service – Uber cars are fairly new private vehicles. The drivers are rated on the spot and thus overall provide better customer service. Cabs are old and driver performance is not actively monitored.
Discounts – Uber has a lot of investor money to burn. They tend to give deep discounts to customers. Who does not like a great service at a discounted price.
After building its customer base in Accra, Uber has officially launched in Kumasi. In the past months, the team in Accra had been hinting about starting operations in Kumasi. It was assured that by the end of the year, operations would commence in Kumasi.
Uber began in Accra, sometime in June 2016 as its 475th city across the globe. After Accra being one of its most profitable cities in Africa, it was expected that Kumasi would be the next location. You can enjoy FREE Uber ride (up to GHS10) by signing up here
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