A Global Brand with Local Drive: Uber Comes to Accra
In Accra, like most West African cities, if you need to get around by car you have one of three options: a trotro (public minivan), a taxi, or a private car. Uber, which launches in Accra on Thursday, June 9, aims to be a fourth, reliable option.
With the launch of Uber Accra, the rapidly growing car-hailing app will reach seventeen African cities across in the continent from Egypt to Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and now, Ghana. For Uber, Accra, a city of five million with a rapidly growing middle class, presents a huge growth opportunity. After sixteen months in Lagos, Uber provided 30% more rides than it did in London during its first sixteen months. Could the same hold true for Accra?
Like in other cities, riders can access the app by downloading a smartphone app. Using GPS, Uber sends the nearest driver to the requesting rider.
Similar to other markets, all Uber drivers are screened and trained by the team. When riders order an Uber, they receive the driver’s details and registration number. Each driver is rated by the rider post-trip to help Uber maintain its signature high quality service.
In cities like Paris, some taxi drivers have protested the entry of Uber complaining that the service leads to job loss. With the strength of Accra’s taxi union, one might expect a challenge to entry, but Uber’s Leon Mwotia, an international launcher for the company, insists that’s not the case. “There’s a myth that it’s Uber vs. taxi, when Uber doesn’t compete directly with taxis. Uber is another choice in the transportation ecosystem.”
In Africa’s notoriously congested cities, Uber might be one of the keys to reducing traffic and air pollution.
“Next time you’re in traffic, if you look to your left or to your right, chances are that those drivers are in their cars alone. That’s what causes a lot of traffic,” says Mwotia.
“As people start to leave their cars behind and see the convenience and reliability of Uber, it can create a huge reduction in traffic volume—we’ve seen this in the US in some of our biggest markets.”
The simplest way to reduce the number of vehicles on the road is to increase the number of people traveling in each vehicle. As Uber introduces its UberPool model, which uses algorithms to match people going in the same direction in real-time, in other markets, the company becomes the modern-day version of the carpool. Given the state of Accra’s traffic, we’re hoping UberPool arrives sooner rather than later.
Want to try Uber in Accra? Use the promotional code MOVEGHANA to earn up to six free rides.
Uber Accra is hiring! Uber is looking for an Operations and Logistics Manager in Ghana. Sounds like you? Check out the job description.