The taxi business in Ghana is one that is vibrant in Accra, Tema and Kumasi with thousands of cabs busily plying the all routes in these cities. It is comparatively well regulated and law enforcement agencies have not relented in the supervision of the business. It however lacks innovation and is confronted with many challenges, especially from a customers’ point of view. Uber is provider of cab services that seek to address some of these challenges.
Fortunately, Accra has been named as the next city to join Uber’s booming network in Africa. The economically vibrant hub is the first city in Ghana to receive the service. With a thriving urban population, Accra’s 2.27 million people will have access to efficient transport through the ride-sharing platform.
Uber has proven popular across the world’s cities for its provision of affordable, safe and reliable transport. Through an easy-to-use platform, it connects drivers with riders in real time, at the touch of a button. With over 4 million people using the streets in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA), there is a clear demand for Uber’s services.
Convenience and safety
No more walking to the street to wait to find a ride. You can start the Uber app from anywhere and wait safely for your car to arrive. That means no standing on the street to hail a cab or struggling to find the nearest bus stop late at night.
You can easily identify the driver and car coming to pick you up. When a driver accepts your request, you see his or her first name, photo, and license plate number. You can also check whether others have had a good experience with him or her. In addition, the driver can see your first name and rating. You can contact the driver—and vice versa— through the app if there is any confusion or mishaps. Prior to this, we are unable to identify and trace taxi drivers when we realize we left some of our valuables in the car. We lose them forever.
Share your ETA and location
You can easily share your ride details, including the specific route and estimated time of arrival, with friends or family for extra peace of mind. They’ll receive a link where they can see in real time the name and photo of the driver, their vehicle, and where you are on the map until you arrive at your destination—and they can do all of this without having to download the Uber app themselves. This provides some security as others are able to follow or monitor your journey.
Feedback and ratings
After every ride, you and your drivers need to rate each other and provide feedback. Uber’s safety team reviews this information and investigates any issues. The mere instititution of such a review platform indirectly brings out the best of service from drivers such as driving carefully and obeying motor traffic rules.
If something happens in a car, whether it’s a traffic accident or altercation between you and your driver, Uber’s customer support staff are ready to respond to any issues 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s a big guarantee
Uber puts in place a dedicated Incident Response Team to answer any more urgent issues. If they receive a report that a driver or rider has acted dangerously or inappropriately, they suspend their account, preventing him or her from accessing the platform while investigate is underway.
It won’t be all rosy in the taxi business with the coming of Uber. There would be some setbacks that would slow the growth of the business
Illiteracy and technology adoption
The still has a large proportion of illiterates who are often averse to the adoption new technologies. Even the educated folks are not particularly interested in certain online services such as buying and selling via the internet. Banking halls are usually filled with large numbers of people performing transactions that can be done with their internet banking platforms. This shows how reluctant many Ghanaians are, in the adoption of new technologies. The younger ones (those below 25) are however happy to experiment and embrace such technologies.
Confusion on fares
Confusion is bound to arise given the way uber computes its fares. Ghanaians are not used to standard rates. They like to negotiate for everything. Application of standard rates like the one below could sound confusing to many, and this could lead them to avoid the service.
GHS 1.70 Base Fare + GHS 1.30 per kilometer + GHS 0.19 per minute
Minimum Fare: GHS 5
Cancellation Fee: GHS 5
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Uber.
There’s however a positive side to this, if well managed and communicated. If it appears fair and cheaper, the patronage could rise sharply in few months. Who doesn’t want fair and low transport fares.
Maps and Routes
Even though there are apps that show maps of cities and the whole world, Ghanaians are now gradually getting used to following maps, electronic or physical. Not many can read maps well. The poor address system in the country can also impede the smooth operation of Uber. Nigeria could see more success because they have address system that the average Nigerian knows and understands. Though Lagos is a very populous system, their address system is functional and taxis can easily find his way around, when given an address.
Uber’s success in Ghana could drive the citizenry to make certain developmental and attitudinal changes as a people. For example, people would begin to learn addresses and how to use the address system recently implemented. People would also learn to read maps and adopt technologies like Uber that help make life easier.