UBER speaks up against repeated criticism
Finally, Uber speaks up against criticism of its dilapidated fleet, poor drivers, cancelled trips, strikes and incidents of crime.
The ride-hailing service is in the doldrums after repeated bad publicity and criticism from all spheres of South African life. Now Uber speaks up in defence of its service and highlights some of the challenges of operating in South Africa.
UBER SPEAKS UP
In a story written by Daily Investor, and shared on Business Tech, ten-years on from its launch in South Africa, and the ride-hailing service is a shadow of the company it once was. The main complaints levelled at Uber from clients are the following:
- Dilapidated and unroadworthy vehicles.
- The service has become unreliable, with drivers cancelling trips, leaving clients stranded.
- Drivers are less conscientious and the cars dirty on the inside.
- Drivers won’t use air-conditioning, change the radio station or open a window.
- Drivers often don’t follow the road rules and will travel further than necessary to extend the trip.
- Occasionally drivers won’t terminate the ride and keep travelling at your expense.
- Communicating with Uber via support channels to resolve any issues is time consuming and difficult.
- Some clients have been attacked and robbed when taking an Uber in what many believe are orchestrated attacks.
UBER DRIVERS ARE ALSO UNHAPPY
More evidence that Uber is in need of a rethink is the fact that drivers are also unhappy. In July, Uber drivers threatened to shut down operations in SA to protest ongoing safety issues and low pay.
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Their issue was low pricing of rides and the 25% service fee heard. Finally, Uber speaks up on these issues. Uber General Manager Sub-Saharan Africa, Kagiso Khaole, told Daily Investor that the safety of drivers and riders is their utmost priority.
“We have launched several industry-leading safety features over the years, including features dedicated to the South African market. These include an in-app emergency button, Audio Recording, RideCheck, and Safety Check-up.
He said investigations of the safety incidents reported showed they were perpetrated by third-party individuals and not by drivers on the Uber platform. “Some of the cases reported took place as a result of the alleged victims getting into the wrong vehicle,” he said.
Every vehicle must also pass an independent annual inspection, said Khaole, regarding vehicle quality. Drivers need to follow this as part of the company’s requirements to sign up. In terms of vehicle age, Uber has extended this from a minimum of 5 years to 8 years for all products. This explains the dilapidated Uber rides on our roads nowadays.
NO LOVE FOR SHORT RIDES
In response to the cancellation of trips, Khaole said some Uber drivers prefer to focus their attention exclusively on longer journeys which made more money. “Traffic congestion also plays a role in drivers avoiding shorter trips in built-up areas. It is an issue Uber is working to resolve. We increased the fares on shorter trips to make them more attractive to drivers,” he said.
“So far, we are forming workable solutions for the benefit of an inclusive ride-sharing industry whilst upholding the independent status of drivers operating on the app,” concluded Khaole.
Have you had a bad Uber experience you’d like to share with our audience? Do you think the company’s quality control is letting it down? Let us know in the comments section below.