Uber Technologies, the well-known US-based ride sharing service provider, has decided to seek affordable access to new autos from Kia Motors in an effort to increase its tally of drivers in the Nigerian city of Lagos, Africa’s largest.
The company wants access to cheaper deals to purchase new vehicles from South Korea’s Kia and then hopes to jump fivefold the number of drivers in the city, to 3,000 before the start of 2017. The US car-booking group has entered deals with the carmaker and Lagos-based Access Bank Plc to lower the down payment needed for a new auto to 95,000 naira ($477) from almost 200,000 naira, with the rest payable over four years, according to Alon Lits, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa. “Since we launched in Lagos just over a year ago, more than 600 job opportunities have been created using the application,” commented Lits in a recent interview. “That’s really just the beginning.“
Uber has expanded worldwide tremendously and now uses its suite of applications to connect drivers with passengers using the smartphone technology in at least 300 cities and is still looking for partnerships that would mitigate the rising costs of adding new drivers. Established back in 2009, Uber doesn’t employ the drivers or own the vehicles and numerous taxi and limousine companies have engaged in wide protests against the service, claiming it represents unfair competition. Lagos is the first sub-Saharan African city to start using the service apart from South Africa and challenges are massive here: ranging from congested traffic and poor mapping quality to the fact that only a small portion of the populace has the technical ability to manage the smartphone application.