- Title: Uber grows taxi service in Ghana as part of expansion plans in Africa.
- Date: 26th October 2016
- Summary: COMPUTER SCREEN
- Embargoed: 10th November 2016 13:16
- Keywords: Uber Taxi Cab Clients Drivers Taxi Service App Smartphone Expansion
- Location: ACCRA, GHANA
- City: ACCRA, GHANA
- Country: Ghana
- Topics: Company News Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA00555N61JR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Naa Oyoe Quartey is getting a taxi to work in Ghana's capital, Accra using the Uber app on her phone.
Silicon Valley's Uber launched its online cab hailing service in the country in June and clients like Quartey are now finding it easier to get around town.
The company uses a Smartphone app and GPS technology to provide its cab services by linking customers with drivers near them.
"Uber is very convenient, it's easy, it's accessible, and you don't have to struggle to bargain with taxi drivers because it gives you the actual amount depending on the kilometers or the distance you cover and the drivers too they're nice so far the one's that I've come across are very cool their cars are neat and they treat you well like the way a customer deserves to be treated," said Quartey.
Quartey's trip has cost her about 3 US dollars for a journey she says would have been about 5 dollars by ordinary taxi.
Traffic-clogged roads, high rates of urban crime and a lack of credit cards are big challenges Uber faces in sub-Saharan Africa, where it already operates in seven cities in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya and more recently Tanzania and Uganda.
Uber is popular for its cheaper fares and convenience, which in turn has seen many drivers enroll on the platform which guarantees them clients.
"Before then I wasn't working, I tried a lot of companies I couldn't get any response but thank God Uber employed me and at least I'm able to make my home and now I'm not depending on my family and friends at least I can live on my own," said Uber driver, Thomas Owusu Ampofo.
Uber operates in over 60 countries worldwide and is worth about 40 billion US dollars.
Leon Mwotia is the company's international launcher and is based in Ghana.
"We're very excited by the demand that we've seen it's been some of the strongest demand that we've seen across sort of markets in Europe and eastern Africa it's been very real, very organic demand, the drivers that we've seen the job opportunities that we've created so we're looking at creating over a 1,000 opportunities by the end of the year at the current pace which is a huge story that we want to tell," he said.
Uber drivers are said to go through a vetting process to check their psychological state and car documents.
The company says it wants to convince traditional taxi drivers to work with them alongside running their own businesses.
Protests against Uber by traditional taxi drivers have been staged in various countries over what the cab drivers see as a threat to their livelihoods.
"Someone hearing of a mileage taxi journey system (Uber) will not come to my station to pick a car definitely I will charge more than those who are using the mileage system (Uber) so me in this way I think bringing it into the system will affect me since that is the only business I do for a living," Benjamin Osae, a taxi driver in the capital said.
"There is no harm in trying, they should come and join us since we're all doing the same work there's no fear they should come and join us but while joining us we need more education as I said it will benefit them if they're in traffic," said another taxi driver, Foster Appiah.
The Taxi service has also faced criticism over safety concerns regarding driver backgrounds, drivers failing to find their way and privacy issues.
"I was in a taxi and I was trying to use Google maps to navigate my way to that destination I got to the junction and the town was ahead and the GPS was showing me that it was behind me the taxi driver said it's ahead but I said no the map says it's behind me. So sometimes I think based on the positioning of the satellite or something it makes the navigation confusing a little bit sometimes it causes problems sometimes you get exactly what you deserve," said Francis Nana Yaw, an Accra resident.
In Kenya and Nigeria, the company is currently looking to make it cheaper for Uber drivers to rent vehicles.
In South Africa, the company has teamed up with a financing company to help drivers obtain car loans based on their work history with Uber, including the customer ratings they received on the app.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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