With South Africa having only just ended its national lockdown, plenty of people have begun feeling a return to normality. There are no more masks, no limits on gatherings, and travel no longer requires certification of vaccination to travel. Because of this, travel has started going back to how it was two years ago. Uber knows this and sees an opportunity to capitalize on a sudden boom in travel.
Earlier this year Uber launched a ‘Reserve’ option – which allows users to book a ride in advance. Building on that, Uber has launched ‘Reserve at Airports’ in an effort to
make money help travellers have a smoother travel experience.
Reserve at Airports is launching at 50 airports across the world, with three of those belonging to South Africa. Specifically, O.R. Tambo, Cape Town International, and Lanseria Airport.
Looking Uber cool
The Reserve at Airports addition gives customers quite a bit of freedom. The biggest win is being able to book a ride 30 days in advance. Which, as long as it lets users cancel closer to the time, is perfect. In South Africa, you never know when an airline could go bankrupt or halt flights at the tip of a hat. It shouldn’t be a big issue provided it’s not just before your driver is supposed to turn up.
And if you’re worried about your driver if a flight is delayed, don’t. Uber will automatically adjust pickup times based on flight information. So, there’s no need to worry about running late, or arriving too early.
Of course, most people aren’t just planning on stepping off the plane and going right to the driver. There’s a process, with luggage retrieval and all that fun stuff. Drivers will wait for an hour before stranding you. Just don’t dawdle, and you should make it with time to spare.
And, to cap it off, your driver won’t be parked in a dodgy parking lot a 20-minute walk away. They will wait at the pick-up zone.
Drivers need to be extra careful
In South Africa, you have to question the safety aspect of everything. And we’re not talking so much about being safe from the Uber driver, but rather the safety of the Uber driver. Before travel became as limited as it was, calling for an Uber was a risky move. And that’s because of the taxis that sit around the airport collection zone hoping to collect potential customers.
Taxi drivers began threatening Uber drivers in an attempt to make them leave, and keep the business to themselves. It became such a problem that Uber drivers would refuse to pick up customers near O.R Tambo in case they were apprehended by taxi drivers.
It’s not quite so risky these days. Metered taxi drivers at SA’s airports tend to be pushy but they’re more likely to impersonate an Uber driver than attempt to flip his car. Uber themselves hasn’t mentioned anything about risks in SA, either, so it’s probably fine. It feels like it would be a bad business move to force drivers where they are not welcome.
Another upcoming feature that hasn’t reached South African shores yet is the ability to order airport restaurant food directly on the Uber Eats app. This lets customers order ahead, and skip the queues to pick up their meals. This is only available for a single American airport – for now. It will slowly roll out across the US and potentially go global too.
If you’re interested in finding out more, check out Uber’s site.