“We’ve received a lot of feedback from driver-partners expressing their need to be able to choose the kind of trips they want to accept,” says Jonathan Ayache, General Manager Uber South Africa. “This feedback came from our focus groups, comments at partner appreciation events and recent safety working groups. We’ve taken heed of this request and believe the new cash indicator pilot will address their needs.
“While some driver-partners have asked for the cash option to be removed, other driver-partners feel the cash option has opened them up to new riders and provides the consumer with more choice. Cash is a dominant payment method in Africa and many riders do not have cards to use on the app; cash removes the barrier for those without a card who want to use Uber.
“That’s why it’s not feasible to remove the cash option completely – we believe riders should have the freedom to pay for rides how they wish, but we also believe that driver-partners should have the freedom to accept cash trips or not.”
The cash indicator will only appear to driver-partners on cash trips – no indicator will pop up for card trips. The indicator will be clearly visible directly under ETA (estimated time of arrival) on the driver’s app. The dispatch process will not be impacted at all, should a driver choose to decline the request, the app will immediately alert another driver-partner. This also means that driver-partners who decline to accept a cash trip will not face any consequences – they will not be penalised for declining a cash trip, nor will they be deactivated for doing so.
“We are in the business of technology; we’ve introduced many key safety features that did not exist before the introduction of the Uber in South Africa,” says Ayache. “We remain committed to using and investing in technological solutions to any issues, safety included.
“Unfortunately, Uber’s technology cannot prevent crime, but with the introduction of core safety features such as GPS tracking, 24/7 support, an emergency number for drivers, as well as our partnership with multiple security companies, and now, the cash indicator, we are doing everything we can to prioritise the safety of those using the Uber app. We will regularly monitor the success of the pilot.”
Uber says it remains committed to working with the authorities, who it says have promised to prioritise the safety of Uber driver-partners in Gauteng and around the country.