From Cape Town to Cairo, Uber has not had a smooth ride thus far on the continent despite its popularity with customers. So much so that even one of its largest investors recently suggested it quit all markets it operates in, in Afrika.
However, despite run-ins with regulators, fights with traditional cab drivers, and sometimes complaints from its driver partners, the ride-hailing company has seen impressive growth across Afrika and has reiterated its commitment to doing business on the continent. One such indicator of the ride-hailing platform's commitment to Afrika is the opening of Uber service centers for driver-partners across the continent. Known as Uber Greenlight Hubs, they serve as resource centers where existing and potential driver partners can receive support for app-related inquiries. The flagship Uber Greenlight Hub in Afrika, a 1,700 square foot facility, is located in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Reception area at Uber's 1,700 square foot driver service center in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"The new hub, which has the capacity to serve up to over 1,800 driver-partners each week, reflects our ongoing pledge to better serve our Johannesburg driver community. There are no costs associated with driver-partners utilizing the Greenlight Hub, we respect them as valuable partners with a voice and a choice and we want them to feel that they can talk to us about anything at any time. We aim for driver-partners to have the best customer experience enhanced by solid processes, well-trained experts and cutting-edge technology. We proud to say that on average, 90% of driver-partner issues are resolved within their first visit,” said Alon Lits, General Manager at Uber for Sub-Saharan Afrika.
One of the interesting points Lits highlighted during a tour of Uber's flagship Greenlight Hub located in Johannesburg was that as per Uber's last statistics report for South Africa in 2017, the ride-hailing platform was seeing approximately 1 million active riders using its platform per month in South Africa. This can partly be explained by the fact that Johannesburg is among the longest markets that Uber has been operating in as the 34th city globally that the ride-hailing platform launched in.
Currentvand potential driver-partners waiting to be assisted, onboarding, etc. at Uber's 1,700 square foot driver service center in Johannesburg, South Africa.
There are other Uber Greenlight Hubs across Afrika in cities where Uber operates such as Lagos, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, to name a few. In South Africa, as Taryn Morris, Head of Customer Experience for Uber in Sub-Saharan Afrika, explained, there are four other hubs which serve the driver-partner community in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Cape Town. According to Uber, the Greenlight Hubs are support centres specifically for driver-partners where they are provided with established channels of communication to raise individual questions and concerns that they may have.
The Johannesburg Greenlight Hub also features a canteen with a free coffee station, a document upload/self-help area with access to laptops and scanners for drivers to use, and access to partner vendors who want to share information on their services.
“We are focused on ensuring that driver-partners - who are key pillars of our business -- receive the right kind of technological and on-site support. We’re excited about the growth we’ve seen in South Africa and Africa and will continue investing in the region,” concluded Lits.