There has been a lot of controversies in South Africa surrounding the e-hailing taxi service, Uber, in 2017. The majority of which have come from violent clashes between Uber drivers and drivers who work for metered taxi companies. This forced the company to rethink their procedures as they announced new updates and features to the app at the end of October 2017 in an attempt to keep both drivers and passengers safe. The company has now announced, on 8 November 2017, that they will be adding another new feature which will see the drivers get paid extra if they are left waiting for a passenger.
Alon Lits, Uber Sub-Saharan Africa GM, says: “Over the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time listening to and engaging with over 12 000 driver-partners across South Africa, hearing what they care about when using the Uber app.
“The feedback we got was monumental and driver-partners have been very clear on what they need. Based on these discussions, we will be rolling out products that can address three keys areas: more flexibility for drivers when it comes to when they want to use Uber, using our technology to create a stress-free experience, and building on safety.”
This new feature, which is called paid time, will now see drivers get paid for the time they spend waiting on passengers. The system will see passengers get charged after the driver has waited for 5 minutes at the pick-up location.
Uber emphasised that due to the growth of the service in South African cities, the time it takes for drivers to arrive has been reduced to just minutes, so there is no need for riders to order an Uber until they are ready to leave.
“The Paid Wait Time feature is a simple addition that riders will be able to quickly adapt to, but importantly, it makes a big difference to driver-partners’ efficiency and contributes to that stress-free experience that we aim to achieve,” says Lits.
The company highlighted that this is just the beginning and that they will continuously look at ways to upgrade the app to address driver and passenger concerns.