• Uber is testing a new cheaper option that starts from R19 a trip, using predominantly hatchback cars. 
  • Earlier this year, Bolt Go launched a similar option. 
  • But that resulted in a drivers' strike - they protested the impact the lower prices had on their income.
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Uber is testing a new, cheaper option called UberNAM in South Africa, with trips starting from R19.

Currently, the minimum rate is R25.

Similar to its competitor Bolt’s Go option, the new service will mostly make use of hatchbacks, which according to Uber are “generally more affordable to maintain and run”. Bolt Go is 20% cheaper than Bolt's normal pricing.

Uber said it is testing the new service because according to its research and data “pricing is a clear barrier when it comes to travelling, and has been further exacerbated by the pandemic”.  

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“We are aware trends have changed across South Africa and consumers are more price sensitive,” Uber’s general manager for Sub Saharan Africa, Frans Hiemstra, said. “In these difficult times, we want to ensure we deliver more affordable options with the same door-to-door safety standards, while unlocking further earning opportunities for driver-partners.” 

UberNAM will be available in select areas in Johannesburg and Cape Town, meaning not all riders will see this option at first. However, Uber aims to expand it across South Africa.

READ | Why Uber is asking some South Africans for a selfie to prove they're wearing a mask

Bolt’s Go option has been controversial, with drivers embarking on a strike last month to protest the impact the cheaper rates has had on their income.

Earlier this year, the Competition Commission issued a scathing report about the practices of e-hailing services in South Africa, claiming that some of their drivers are earning below minimum wage.

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