Will Uber survive in South Africa?

FeaturedWill Uber survive in South Africa?

So far they are.

By any means necessary it seems.

Regardless of what is happening the other side of the world, that is losing one the biggest license the company will ever ever have (London license) and fighting to get it back, it seems the problems we face here in South Africa are the least of their worries; and we might have to hold on until they done fixing that part of the world.

Drivers I have used in the past weeks following the torching of two Uber cars in Sandton, Johannesburg have been living dangerously. Trying by all means to avoid places where they might just be identified and put to risk. For weeks I have had to put up with thew following:

  • Having to request the service far from the public places where conventional taxis have been using for years prior to Uber entering the market.
  • Having been driven home with a driver carrying a gun in his car (he sounded so happy having one but then again I am not a gun slinger and didn’t bother asking to look it, rather opting to have the ride end safely and without incident).
  • Instead of displaying their cellphones enabled with GPS on their dashboard, they have had to conceal them and ask me for directions to where I am going, which is somewhat annoying and risky, considering the service can be used whilst in a drunken stupor.
  • Having my ride cancelled because I happen to be waiting at an area the driver deemed dangerous for pick up.
  • Not being picked up because I am paying cash (apparently a few cash requests led to a few drivers being attacked in Johannesburg)

Despite Uber’s in-house problems, it is still remains a choice for many in South Africa while their domination in this relatively new playing field is strongly being contested by Taxify and Cabbie.

70% is drivers on Uber are also on Taxify, which means whatever problems the parent company is facing or its popularity in the area, drivers remain undeterred, their main focus solely lying on making a profit.

‘Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, continues to be keen to be seen to be doing things differently vs the Travis Kalanick era Uber which got bogged down with so many scandals.’ According to Techcrunch.

Uberpop, their brand which Uber uses in Europe for its lowest cost ride-hailing service which connects passengers with private drivers can easily be delayed in South Africa because of not wanting to put un-licensed taxi drivers in danger from the criminal activity and current demise they find themselves in.

While I think it could solve the problem where many have to ride for hours to get to work, the congestion in the roads and ultimately one’s carbon footprint, it is more to do with community acceptance than business sense.

My loyalty to Uber is because, now than ever, I can do more than just catch a ride, UberEats, delivers to your home with a flat fee of 35 rand within the Eastrand,

while Taxify is playing catch-up with the prospect of the former ushering in more services such as self driving cars.

It seems not so far ago, we were totally reliant on meter taxis and their exorbitant pricing but now spoiled for choice.

I am told of a new taxi hauling service called Cabbie, which I haven’t tried out yet because I couldn’t locate it in my app store as easily as the other two (it still has a low rating).

Quantity is certainly not the issue in this game but certainly quality of service. This determined by the pricing, efficacy and at times number of freebies being thrown at me at any particular time.

 

Comparing Uber and Taxify quotes over a small distance in an area, I have discovered some slight differences such as how:

Uber gives you three choices, Uber X, Black and Van, to chose from whilst their competitor only has one. For those that want to ride in style and prefer to be treated as royalty, Uber will win this one.

Taxify has a larger estimate, far more worrying if you have 30 rand in your pocket as it might end up costing 40 rand. If it doesn’t then you save more than Uber which estimates higher but within the same range as their competitor and rarely bills you lower.

To me it looks like the two companies are almost similar depending on their positioning in the market. Taxify is trying hard to get clients and will entice you with a very low estimate of 30 rand (as in this case) whilst the ceiling of their estimate is much higher than the actual estimate from Uber by just two rands. There isn’t much of a difference but I guess in today’s world it counts for something.

All pricing is off course dependent on factors such as traffic, but whatever you chose you are guaranteed to get there safely.

Whether be it on the basis of market experience, service or choices, etc.

Tell us which taxi hauling service you prefer and why, for we would like to know?

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How a pair of panties can make or break an economy.

FeaturedHow a pair of panties can make or break an economy.

I have heard of great politicians who championed great deeds and climbed impossible peaks for the greater good of the people. I have read of stories of warriors and great fighters who defied all odds including death itself to make the world we live in a better place.

But just when I thought I had read and seen it all, a pair of panties potentially put a halt to an economy and its prospects just because they could not find Zodwa Wa Bantu‘s well sort after and un-interested fundament.

It should be a lesson to anyone indifferent, you never know where it takes you.

For the past weeks the Zimbabwean government and her people were torn between accepting Zodwa’s un-apologetic distaste for undies. It boiled down to whether she deserved performing at the just ended Harare International Carnival or not.

Somewhere out there lies a pair of knickers that potentially shaped the future of Zodwa Wa Bantu’s career. This very pair/s is the reason she decided to go without and eventually have her move around freely and to date, make her a valuable commodity racking huge endorsement deals while naked in her bum.

The story made so much headlines and hashtags that it eventually reached my mother and that ladies and gentlemen is when you can fail to answer a simple question, no matter how good you think you can manoeuvre your way out of any odd situation.

I will go on to do a first, ever since Zodwa’s “private affairs” were published and started an online riot that crucified a washed out actress who in her mind thought was doing it for the good of her nation.

I too, do not favour undergarments and their restrictive nature and prefer not to whenever I can. I often move around plainly and the world is so much a free place than when covered and can’t breath. We all could reach a un-explainable height of peace and happiness if we could embrace our free living spirits.

Let’s see if I too can bring down a national event by my confession. (chuckles)

While I failed to see the hoo-ha about her undergarment preferences, especially as the country is knee deep on bigger issues that need all the attention and resources we can get.

I certainly felt ashamed at the level of participation towards an entertainers choice of wardrobe which overtook a worthy cause to revamp and restore the country’s image of failing to respect personal choices and the to some extent the freedom of expression/arts.

And that individuals such as artists, actors and politicians that are supposed to cry for the bread and butter issues of the whole nation are busy hash tagging and starting movements against no-pantie wearing socialites and dancers.

To make matters worse in this horrid display of power and influence was the fact that the line up of artists on the event included members of dance groups whose regalia is almost non existent and whose dances are more close to strip dancing than anything else decent.

For days, the country stood still and waited for ZWB to showcase her signature moves and sexy bod. Hate or like the socialite, she has made a career out of what she believes in. Staying true to it and never quitting (yes I am a fan).

Until all the noise subsided we forgot about the bond notes, the bank queues and twenty dollar offerings. We forgot about everything else that we need sorted and stressed about a pair of panties that do not even exist( I’m guessing Zodwa doens’t even own a pair)

That ladies and gents is the power of Zodwa’s panties, if they exist, that can halt an economy and start an uproar.

 

 

                            Foreign

                            Foreign

By Mudhanganyi

What un-qualifies me? What makes me a stranger?

What makes me the different strand, one queer block posing danger

My dialect, tone, ascent, color?

My birthplace, president or unasssuming demeanor

Why does it seem I alone has to face the culler?

I am known by my many things,

Never of the good ones

But mostly insults, and of them lashings.

My armpits smell

Simple etiquette, it seems, I don’t do to well.

Brothers we are, sisters we are

Inlaws we have become but still demarcated

Geographically and emotionally our hearts be the landmark

It’s a sad tale,

What a bloody, poor heartbreak.

Scapegoat, spoiler, wrecker, taker

Invader, looter, undesired heartbreaker

Asylum seeker, expatriate

Names I’m given when all I pray for is that we relate.

What happened to love

What happened to Ubuntu

If we can’t, forward we can never

But there’s a good ending, if willing, and it begins with you.

Is Uber profitable in South Africa?

uber1bDon’t get me wrong, I love Uber, at first I believed it was amongst the greatest innovations within the 21st century amongst Facebook and Twitter until I was waiting on the street on a rainy night (courtesy of cyclone Dineo) and all I seemed to get from Uber drivers allocated to me was, sorry your driver had to cancel.

Four drivers had cancelled, humiliatingly so as I had gone on and on to my colleagues bragging about the service and low cost Uber offered as compared to dodgy security details patrolling the night that charge them 20-30 rand each for a trip or the conventional taxi drivers who charge 100 – 200 rand over the same distances. I was simply running out of answers to where my ride was as my initial 14 minutes ETA had flown past with no car in sight. The last driver to decline was kind enough (or not) to call and tell me to make other plans as it did not make “money sense” to drive 15 minutes for a journey of five and as much as I wanted to show Uber’s effectiveness and style to my colleagues, I had to agree. For the first time in my lovely relationship with Uber, I saw her other side. My five minute ride didn’t matter but the driver’s 15 did.

 

The rain poured down heavily and with no other choice I went along with friends to ask patrolling security detail at a nearby garage to take me home. Within a few seconds of arriving, one determined Uber driver who had eventually accepted my trip, called to ask for my whereabouts. In my apparent demise, I had packed my phone in a dry pocket and proceeded to the garage when he decided to come fetch me. Initially the ride was supposed to have been far cheaper as we where going to take the same taxi and split the charge but now because my other friends had already made other plans, I had to cough up the fare alone, as such because I loved their service before then, feared to have to pay for a ride which I did not cancel.

 

As usual my ride was nice, the car was smart and smelled nice, my driver even hard the car warm and stirred up conversations that have become synonymous with my every ride. Because the service is relatively new in South Africa and nothing like it, I still have a lot of questions on how it operates and it is like getting it from the horse’s mouth.

 

John (not his real name) was kind enough to explain to me as to the reason why there seemed to be no car available to me when I requested. It is in the way the service operates that might leave you wondering if the business owners of such a huge company are making any money at the end of the day. John told me how he has to wait for hours at the airport in a queue from Uber until eventually he is allocated a passenger. The queue he says can last for hours until eventually getting a passenger who could be going as far as the next city. All fair and done, the customer will pay for the ride but the driver will have to travel back again to the same airport for a fee that reflects only the passengers destination and not the cost to come back and also minus the service fees that Uber takes from the driver.

 

And as for when he picked me up, he was just from dropping a passenger on his way back to yet another queue when he decided to accept my ride.

 

It took him about 14 minutes to get to where I was, I am guessing there where no other Uber taxis in the area at that moment. It then took us 5 minutes to get home, a ride, which cost 35 rands. I honestly felt bad having to pay him such little money but because I have little in depth understanding of how he is making his money, the little conversation we had was enough to let me know that on this particular trip, the poor fellow came out with nothing.

 

“We as passengers can sometimes benefit from Uber, but we can’t always rely on it.  It is worth considering, while enjoying an Uber ride – what would happen if Uber effectively put regular taxi services out of business?  What would happen if we got a ‘no cars available’ message and had no other alternatives to turn to

Maybe Uber will grow to ‘meet the market’.  But if it is losing money at present, is more growth going to cause it to lose money faster or to stop losing money and turn profitable?  More to the point, is there an unlimited supply of potential drivers that Uber can add to its driver base?

The answer to the question about driver supply is key.  That very low fare you just paid to an Uber driver may or may not be sufficient for the driver to stay in business.  Remember that Uber takes 20% – 30% of the fare you pay for its role in the middle, and all of a sudden, a R30.00 Uber fare means a net of perhaps R24.00 for the driver, who then has to pay all his own costs and also self-employment taxes on whatever slim ‘profit’ may remain.” MiscellaneousReviewsTravel

 

Uber’s business models centres on being cheap and now that we have shunned conventional taxis who in turn are feeling the competition and leaving for home in the early hours of the night, we seem to be stuck with a service that might not have enough drivers to come to your aid or unwilling to come through because it does not make profitable sense. The flip side of this dilemna is knowing a colleague who is still waiting to have his Uber permit approved so he can start offering rides.

Uber is a great service, but before many South Africans get vehicle credit to put up a fleet on the streets of Johannesburg in the hope of making a kill, they need to come up with a driver base large enough to put out all the fears of being stuck on the road with no driver willing to accept your ride, no matter how insignificant it might be to the business.

 

 

 

How to cheat on your partner!

How to cheat on your partner!

delete-whatsapp

Delete! Delete! Delete! Is the key word. Nothing to it than this valuable six letter word.

While I am no stranger to the action itself, I could not but imagine the pain an acquaintance has had to go through just to have a normal day in his marriage, a thing he yearns for but barely gets from his partner.

Meet Dave (not his real name), 26, married and with one child. He would love to just get home and live his phone charging while he takes a bath or leave it to charge while he goes off with friends on a binge but as he tells me while we enjoyed a couple of beers at an establishment in the East rand, he cannot afford to do that.

His life, he says, has been marred with various near -to-fatal incidences just because of a Social App, one that literally left a mark on him when the wife took hot coals from a braii and threw at him infront of family and friends. He has survived numerous cellphone destructions, a limit to his conjugal rights in many nights and has had to retrieve his contacts on many occasions through his network provider. Far too many times than any other man has done he believes.

But as the story goes, he has reached level expert in cheating on his wife. He no longer has to worry. It seems he has developed a unique memory of all the chats he has with his mistresses and never misses a thing. On a conversation, when he types, he deletes and when he gets a response, he deletes and when the chat ends, he deletes the recents because as with Whatsapp, they all pile up at the beginning and are a cause of grief and pain in his house.

I was in no space to ask him why he has to go through all the hustle just to cheat when he has a woman at home? But I wasn’t going to ruin the fun chat I was having with him. He had become the only source of entertainment in this local establishment besides the booze , for it seemed, not too many patrons had ventured out on this night.

His belief was that marriage could never work without a ‘side chick’ and he had justifications for his theory.

“A woman is never satisfied with all you do for her, there is always something she looks for which is mysterious, its a thing we can never know. First I thought my spouse needed money and a good life but when I gave her that, she still never trusted me. That was before I even cheated on her first. When I realised I was never going to be appreciated and that I was just a suspect in our marriage I began to see another woman. I was not clever with it at the start but now, I am as clean as a whistle and have no problems of infidelity with my woman”

Today’s world has presented a challenge on privacy that our mothers and fathers never suffered from. There where no cellphones, pc’s and definitely no video calling and all was made simple by having one common place of communication, a huge and heavy telephone set sitting by the corner set in the lounge. There was definitely no phone sex and no funny conversations on this set while the whole family googled or the little naught brother listened and giggled in the other room.

“It was kinda peaceful back then” Dave said with a chuckle.

I couldn’t help but agree.

Dave has since developed a keen understanding of social networks and is adept to the most recent trends in chatting that can make his marriage life easier. Not only has he stuck to one platform but has initiated a somewhat persuasion of the mind to all his mistresses, which by now I had gathered numbered four, to have them download message applications that make it easier for them to communicate. Its about staying ahead of the game and making sure nothing or no one catches up on you, its like a game of cat and mouse he relates.

In as much as Dave is treading on a thin thread of either getting caught or catching up on an unwanted deadly disease, much of the world today evolves around the conversations within social platforms and security is of major concern. WhatsApp came up with end to end encryption a few months back to keep information passed on from one user to the other secure from the googles and hackers but as for Dave, he needs not to worry about these but only his wife.

“The most dangerous woman is one starring at a pic of another woman in your phone as you fail to construct a meaningful reason as to why she is in your phone” he says, now clearly inebriated.

Social networks providers are unaware of the wars being waged daily in the homes, way bigger than their worries of spying and intelligence.

A while ago another friend went on to create a false profile on Facebook to catch a cheating husband. By the time I got to know of the profile, the husband was about to meet his mistress (his wife) for the first time and she wasn’t sure what to do next as it had become too real for her to handle. In the end she deleted the profile, what a waste I thought whilst it was too close to home, what if I too was lured in such a manner? Would I take the bait?

I have gathered an immense suspicious character online which begins from sieving through my friends and followers. While I might not use the delete button that often, I prefer to unfollow and block that which I feel might hinder my privacy or my wellbeing. The greatest fear of all time is to have to wake up with a headline saying, ‘Major social platform hacked!’ and so in preventing before I need a cure, I chose to be a bit smarter when it comes to what I do and who I do it with online.

It begs the thought of how much of online footprint are we leaving out there in today’s world? Is it good and is it bad? How much of it will hurt when its publicly displayed, one day? We have seen it happen before and I have a feeling it wont be the last we hear of it.

If it comes to cheating on your spouse, Dave encourages you to delete! I guess even in a court of law, when there is no evidence, there is no time!

DO NOT SHOOT THE MESSENGER!