Uber, the app riding transport company, may have concluded plans to expand its business in Nigeria and Egypt with the introduction of a bus service in the two countries, our correspondent has learnt.
Uber’s bus service allows riders to save time by waiting for their cab in a pre-arranged location, and being dropped off at any point along a predetermined route.
Currently, Uber operates in Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria and in the Cairo, the capital of Egypt.
It was gathered that the Uber bus service is being planned to fill the vacuum that might be created should the Lagos State Government eventually ban danfo (commuter) buses from the city.
A source at the Uber office in Nigeria also told our correspondent that another consideration in the planned launch of a bus service was due to the loss in revenue in the last eight months to a competitor.
“We have lost hundreds of drivers to a rival company, and we are losing more by the day, owing to certain reasons given by the drivers. Most of the drivers are even on the two platforms – Uber and Taxify – with most having committed their loyalty to the competitor.
“There is no doubt that the bus service, if eventually launched, will attract many new drivers to the app, especially at a time that the state government is working on banning yellow buses in Lagos,” the source said.
On his part, Uber’s General Manager for Sub-saharan Africa, Alon Lits, said, “Drivers love being as flexible as they like; earning what they want, whether it’s a full-time entrepreneur or someone looking to supplement their income.”
He said, “Ongoing commitment to our driver-partners is a key priority; ensuring they receive the latest in technological innovations means they can be at the top of their game.”
Lits added, “Four years have gone by incredibly quickly. We have learnt and grown; we look back at our time in Sub-Saharan Africa with pride because we have achieved so much and look forward to what’s next to come.”
Another statement from Uber’s office in Egypt read, “With over 90 million inhabitants and notoriously heavy traffic, Uber’s bus service will cater to a market of 5.2 million daily commuters on public transport, especially as most of the existing buses need urgent repair due to a train crash that occurred last month, killing 37 people. Egypt is among the deadliest countries for commuters with over 14,500 crashes in 2015 alone.”
It added, “The bus service in Egypt signals the beginning of further expansion of Uber in Africa. If its bus service does well in Egypt, the ride hailing service will find its way to other parts of Africa with huge population and substandard public transport options.”