Transportation app Uber has marked its ten-year anniversary in South Africa by launching Uber Package. The service intends to offer same-day deliveries in the country using electrified bikes. Two of them, in fact.
There won’t just be two bikes, obviously. You won’t get your package if there are two new drivers. Uber will launch two types of battery-powered scooters in SA, starting in Cape Town this year.
The new bikes are differentiated by their batteries. Okay, fine, they also look different and have different ranges (and speeds). One is rated as medium speed and, with a 1.5kW battery and a 55km/h top speed, it’ll probably justify the label. The other has a 4kW battery, a range of about 110km on a charge, and a top speed of 95km/h. That’s the high-speed option.
There’s something unusual about these bikes, though. They don’t charge the way EVs do. Instead, the bike’s battery can be swapped, in less than a minute, at charging stations that host several batteries. The charging station looks to have integrated surveillance as well. Hey, batteries are popular.
The service also comes to Johannesburg in 2024.
But wait, there’s more
There’s also some software and service in the offing. Uber One is a subscription service that covers all aspects of the app’s offering, compiling everything under one banner. It costs R50 per month or R500 for the year and includes perks and promises that regular folks don’t get. For example, rides are discounted and deliveries, if they’re late, will score you R20 in credit on the app.
Uber Direct is a partnership with various companies that will see the platform performing last-mile tasks, handling overnight deliveries, and just generally doing logistics things for companies. That’s a bit more corporate.
Then there’s Uber Live, a smaller, more focused version of Uber Eats. Basically, users can use the app to order food (or drinks) which will be delivered directly to you in your seat at a concert venue or similar location. The Live service is geofenced, listing only participating venues at a set location. Imagine beer deliveries during a cricket match instead of having to stand in line. That’s the vision the company has for this one.
Uber Reserve is coming to X and Comfort rides. It was previously available on the Black tier but now more travellers can have a ride waiting, even if their plane is delayed.
Speaking of the various tiers, a new one comes to Cape Town this month. Uber Van launches in the Mother City. It’s mostly for tourists but if you’ve got a big family… you do the math. Also, Uber Black lands in Durban this month.