In 2015 for the first time, more travelers used Uber (41 percent) than taxis (20 percent) or rental cars (39 percent) while on business trips, according to Certify, a provider of travel and expense report management software, VentureBeat reported.
In Africa, traditional transportation is catching on and trying to become more a part of the sharing economy. A headline on a Sept. 30 Fortune.com report reads, “Tech is making African transit more Uber-like.”
Certify tracks business travel expense spending across major categories such as food, airlines, lodging and car rental. The cloud-based platform announced the results today of its third annual SpendSmart report for 2015.
In the ride-hailing category, Certify analyzed Uber’s astronomical growth, as well as a growing presence of its main competitor, Lyft. “Uber is the undisputed ground transportation leader with 41 percent of the national (U.S.) total in the fourth quarter, compared with 39 percent for car rental and 20 percent for taxi,” Certify reported.
Lyft, the No. 2 ride-hailing service, accounts for just a small part of total rides, however the company experienced a more than 700 percent increase in 2015 from the previous year.
In Africa, Uber — which just launched its ninth African city, Port Elizabeth — has grown despite challenges from traditional taxis, according to an earlier AFKInsider report.
Uber Africa started with Johannesburg (September 2013), Cape Town (October 2013), Durban (October 2013), Pretoria, (Lagos (July 2014), Cairo (February 2015), Nairobi (June 2015) and Casablanca (July 2015).
South African cities have been some of the fastest growing Uber markets in the world, Uber’s Cape Town General Manager Anthony le Roux told Fin24. “When we overlayed where we are now with where other cities were at this stage of their Uber history, we know that we’re only just really scratching the surface and the opportunity is massive going forward,” he said.
Ever since Uber launched in 2010, cities and states across the U.S. have been trying to find ways to ban it. Hostility to the new kid on the block stems from Uber’s low rates undercutting traditional taxi services.
Taxi drivers have protested in cities across the U.S., Europe and South Africa, calling for Uber to be banned.
Uber brushes off this opposition as simply incumbents unsettled by changes in the market, and insists the global transportation industry is set to be reinvented by technology-based solutions such as Uber, AfricanBusinessMagazine reported.
In Africa, where cars are for the rich and formal mass transit can’t keep up, the gap is often filled by independently-owned mini buses, known as matatus, jitneys, peseros, and dollar vans, Fortune.com reports.
These mini buses fill a vital need, and can be much more responsive to riders than more formal systems, but using them can also be difficult, dangerous, unpredictable and expensive.
“Now, thanks to the spread of mobile and mapping technology, these informal systems can be upgraded,” said Adam White, co-founder of the development design firm Groupshot. Together with researchers at Columbia, MIT, and the University of Nairobi, Whitehelps run the Digital Matatus Project. Using smartphones and GPS units, researchers rode Nairobi’s thousands of minibuses, assembling a database of the most predictable routes. In 2014, they released the information as a map.
The question, White said, is “how can technology strengthen the good parts of these (traditional transport) systems, and also help to mitigate the problems with them, without wholesale replacing them?”