INTERNET ride-sharing service Uber has added Port Elizabeth to its list of South African cities.
Port Elizabeth joins Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria in having the service. Port Elizabeth is also the ninth city in Africa where Uber has launched its offering.
The city was chosen because of its 1.1-million population size and the company said it would at first “test” its technology in the city using its UberX option.
“The reason we say testing is obviously because we’re still in the process of creating the demand and the supply,” Samantha Allenberg, the head of Uber’s communications in Africa, said.
“So, ETAs (estimated times of arrival) might be a bit longer in the initial period but as we start to build the product, so ETAs will become more reliable.
“But this is a launch; it’s just for the festive season we call it testing so that people know that ETAs won’t be as good as they are in other cities,” said Ms Allenberg.
UberX is the company’s more cost-effective ride option that uses cars such as Toyota Corollas and differs from Uber Black, which has drivers with more high-end vehicles such as BMWs.
The launch of Uber in Port Elizabeth comes after the company’s general manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits, hinted at an expansion to other South African cities earlier this year.
In September, Mr Lits said that “as a company we say internally that we want to be in every city globally with a population of more than 200,000 people”.
“So, if you think about that and the composition that SA has, there’s definitely opportunity beyond our core market and we are exploring that,” Mr Lits said at the time.