Uber Uganda Slashes its Fares by 23% to Increase Demand

Online transportation service, no rx Uber Uganda has Thursday announced a 23 percent slash in its fare rates for its market in Uganda. Riders in the greater Kampala metropolitan area will now part with slightly lower fees on their trips in a move aimed at boosting demand for the service and unlock more business for Uber drivers.

The Country Lead for Uber Uganda, Aaron Tindiseega told the press that; “the cut in fares will increase the time that riders spend on their trips. This also implies that our driving partners will do more trips in a single day and get more income.”

Following the cuts, now Uber drivers will charge Ush 750 a kilometer down from Ush 900.  the minimum fare has equally been reduced to Ush 3,000 from Ush 5,000 while a ride cancellation will now be charged at Ush 3,000 from Ush 5,000.

The base rate has been cut from Ush 1,300 to Ush 1,100 and the per minute cost will now be Ush 150 from Ush 200.

“We believe this will become an alternative to owning a costly personal car and reduce congestion in the city,” Tindiseega added. He said that as Uber anticipates the impact of the price reductions in the longer term, it will in the meantime guarantee earning for drives by giving them top ups. atleast 15,000 active riders in Kampala, Seeta, Wakiso and Entebbe use the Uber App.

While some believe that the announcement comes to counter the growing competition in Kampala’s transport business as well as the harsh economic conditions, Janet Kemboi the Uber Communications Associate for East Africa refuted this.

“We do these price cuts in whichever growing market we enter, like we did in Nairobi. Uber does not care about competition,” Kemboi said.

The Country Lead for Uber Uganda, Aaron Tindiseega addressing journalists after the announcement at Serena Hotel on Thursday

The Country Lead for Uber Uganda, Aaron Tindiseega addressing journalists after the announcement at Serena Hotel on Thursday

Uber entered the Ugandan market in June 2016. The service however remains protective of its current breadth in Uganda. Kemboi could only reveal that there are hundreds of Uber drivers in Kampala.

Justus Mwebembezi, 45, a father of three has been driving with Uber since last year when it entered Uganda. He had been a special hire driver for about 25 years.

On average, he drives 15 trips a day as opposed to 3 trips he used to make before he joined Uber.

“The money from Uber is little, but the advantage is – wherever you go, you have to pick up a customer,” he told Chimpreports in an interview. Mwebembezi’s average rate in the last 8 months is 4.7 (5 being the best rate) and in the same period, he has ferried over 1,000 passengers.

He says on a good day, part time Uber drivers averagely earn Ush 150,000 daily while those who drive full time draw as much as Ush 250,000 especially between Thursday and Monday.

Regarding the new changes in fares, he said it was going to increase the numbers of riders. “I think we shall make more trips since everyone will now want to use Uber. A fare of Ugsh 3,000 is equivalent to that charged by boda bodas. Those who are used to boda bodas will now afford Uber which is even safer.”

A better income and insurance for future education of his children are the major reasons he prefers working with Uber. He however cites challenges like poor time management (in the case of local Ugandans) and the hostility Uber drivers met from ordinary cab drivers at the beginning.

Some users have welcomed the cuts saying it was over due. Juma David, a frequent Uber rider told Chimpreports he had deserted the service due to its high fees and resorted to the new competitors. “I haven’t been using Uber like i used to because their charges were expensive and unstable. I think many people are now going to use it since it’s more easier to access at late hours than the Green and Yellow cabs,” he said.


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