Uber has launched a world-first minibus version of its e-hailing service in Cairo, Egypt – and South Africans are already worried about what would happen if it tried the same in South Africa.
But Uber South Africa says there are no such plans just yet.
With Uber Bus you reserve a minibus seat on what the company promises will be "a clean, air-conditioned, and high-quality bus." The Uber apps finds other passengers going in the same direction, filling up the bus but offering as few stops as possible along the way. Because of the shared cost, prices are below what you would pay for a personal Uber ride.
The service offering comes to an saturated and Cairo market, notorious for its congestion and the trouble that brings to commuters, where minibuses are already a prominent part of the transport mix.
The immediate South African reaction to the announcement was fear that UberBus may come to South Africa – where metered taxi drivers have violently attacked Uber drivers for encroaching on what they see as their turf.
This time @Uber_RSA @Uber @Uber_Support you can not dice with people's lives by launching Uber bus. The Taxi war has seen families lose loved ones.....We have experienced bloodshed between Maxi taxis and Uber drivers. With Uber bus and the taxi industries it's going to be a mess. pic.twitter.com/r2CTBEHtHt— ?uSma Kumalo?™ (@Smanga_Kumalo) December 7, 2018
The UberBus is for Abelungu, right? Because I’d never risk my life by getting in that thing ?? masulu wa Jozi won’t be happy. Hotloshwa batho.— Queen Sarabi (@Tlwano_) December 6, 2018
(The UberBus is for white people right? Because I'd never risk my life getting in that thing. Johannesburg Zulu people won't be happy. People will die)
According to Uber spokesperson Samantha Fuller, the South African fears are premature.
"We have no plans to launch this product in South Africa," she tells Business Insider South Africa.
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