UPDATE: We’ve had feedback to our (numerous) questions from InDriver and have put them beneath the original story.
We’ve been seeing ads for ride-hailing app InDriver in our social media apps for a few weeks now, but when we tried to use it, we were told there were no drivers in our neighbourhood. They were all in Cape Town, the city that InDriver used to enter South Africa. That should change now, because today InDriver announced it’s officially launched in Johannesburg. The US-based company says more than 3,000 drivers have already registered on the app.
Unlike market leaders Uber and Bolt (formerly Taxify), InDriver lets passengers and drivers haggle over fares, and for the time being, it’s cash only. Also, at launch drivers will pay 0% commission. In a statement to the media, InDriver says the 0% offer will continue for the “first few months” after a driver joins the service. We’ve reached out for more detail on how long that offer will last, what percentage of each fare InDriver will eventually take, how it’ll manage to get its share given it’s cash only, and when users can expect to be able to pay by card.
“We want to give the power of setting prices back into the hands of passengers and drivers by countering price surging used by other ride-hailing companies,” says inDriver spokesperson Rifqa Carr, who adds that the service can cost passengers 20-30% less than rival services.
Meet in the middle
For those with an aversion to haggling, or who are worried about offering drivers a reasonable fare, InDriver does offer suggested rates, but there’s no obligation to use them. Of course, low-ball offers are likely to be rejected by drivers, so don’t expect to get a ride to the airport for R10.
In terms of safety and security, passengers and drivers can both share their real-time GPS coordinates with contacts if they wish to, and the InDriver app includes a button for contacting emergency services. It’s unclear which emergency service the button routes to, though, so we’ve asked for clarity on that point.
We’ve also asked InDriver to provide information on how it checks the roadworthiness of vehicles, and how it ensures someone with lots of luggage, for example, is matched with a driver with a sufficiently large vehicle. We’ll update this story once we’ve got received answers to our questions.
In the meantime, if you’re keen to try a new service, or just want one available for the times surge pricing gets out of hand, you can download InDriver for iPhone from the App Store, or for Android devices from Google Play.
Your questions (and ours) answered
We sent InDriver a list of questions this morning. Here are the answers, courtesy of InDriver spokesperson, Rifqa Carr:
How many months with drivers pay 0% commission when using InDriver? And what share of the fare does InDriver take thereafter?
We won’t charge drivers a commission fee for the first few months, the timeframe on this is indefinite. After this, we will charge a low commission fee, averaging between 5% to 8%. In comparison to other ride hailing apps, which charge between 20-25%, this is
Are drivers required to carry a float to manage change, and if so, how much?
The bargaining element of the app allows drivers to work around the amount of cash they have on them at the time. They can negotiate the price up or down depending on how much cash they have on them.
Will inDriver add support for card payments later?
Paying with cash allows us to keep prices for rides even lower. We are looking into adding a card payment option in the future, however, when you pay with a card additional charges, such as bank processing fees, need to be factored in.
Are there plans to launch inDriver in other SA cities?
We will definitely let you know when we will expand to other cities in South Africa.
How does inDriver ensure driver’s cars are roadworthy?
All cars should be in good condition and the car cannot be older than a 2010 model. Drivers need to provide a vehicle registration certification and they are required to send through images of the car, which we check to ensure it is in good condition. Once
approved, they are allowed to use the app.
What happens if someone with a lot of luggage, for example, orders an inDriver car and it turns out to be too small to accommodate their needs?
Alongside being able to bargain for their ride, riders can stipulate on the app that they have additional luggage, drivers can then decide if they have capacity or not, to take on the ride before agreeing on the price. For example, if riders need a baby seat, they can stipulate this. Riders can also select their driver based on the model of the car.
If the service is cash only, how does inDriver get its share?
Once the no commission fee is waived, drivers will need to pay in credits to access the app.
How does the safety button work?
The safety button can be accessed from the app’s menu. It allows both riders and drivers to call police contacts from the app during the ride. Another feature of the safety button is possibility to share real-time GPS locations with trusted contacts from the app’s home page.