The chauffeur service connects you to a driver via your smartphone, and is cashless. Johannesburg was selected as the first African city due to the demand before launch, lack of safe options, as well as being an English-speaking nation.
EDIT: See below for new, cheaper rates
The service is currently in beta and will officially launch in September. When a user signs up, he/she has to link a credit card, therefore cashless, while drivers do not have to be tipped. The current fleet has a range of luxury vehicles including BMW 3 and 5 Series, Mercedes E and S Class and Audi A6s.
To hail a cab, you launch the app; pinpoint your pick-up location, as well as a final destination; get a quote and estimate arrival time. If you select it, you will receive a confirmation including a picture of your driver, who you can message via the app. Uber uses Google Maps, and you see exactly where the taxis are on the map. The app relies on user feedback, and you are prompted to rate your driver after each trip. Drivers are trained and rated on professionalism, and if they don’t meet the average standard via user ratings, they are dropped.
The base fare is R60, and R10,90 is levied per km (above 18km/h) and for anything slower like if you are in traffic, is R3,90 per km. The minimum fare charge is R85. Each vehicle takes a maximum of 4 passengers.
EDIT: On Monday, 2 December, Uber Joburg announced new pricing.
Base fare in Johannesburg was R60, now R15.
Per km rate is now R11 (10c up)
If you are stuck in traffic, it’s now R1,10 a minute.
Min fare is R50.
Cancellation fee is R70.
TRY UBER FOR FREE
All my readers are entitled to R250 off each of your first 2 rides (a return trip worth R500)! Sign up as normal with your credit card details via the app (Android and iPhone). Under the menu, you will see “Promotions”, select it and enter the following code: nafisa – limited to the first 1000 users. When you book a trip, by default, it will be charged to the promotional code. Anything above R250 each way, will be billed to your credit card.
So what are you waiting for? Try out this chauffeur service for yourself (or with 3 friends) and let me know how it goes!
Please note that this code is for new sign ups, not existing users.
EDIT: Uber has since launched in Cape Town and Durban.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 14 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org