Uber, the San Francisco app riding transport company is set to expand its business in Egypt as it sets to launch a bus service in the Arab state.
Uber’s bus service allows riders to save money and time by waiting for their cab in a pre-arranged location, sharing it with strangers, and being dropped off at any point along a predetermined route.
Currently, Uber operates in the Cairo, the capital of Egypt but with the inception of the national bus service, Uber sets to look beyond Cairo to other major governorates. With over 30,000 drivers in 2016, Cairo stands as one of Uber’s fastest growing markets. The ride hailing service also operates in Alexandria and Mansoura.
With over 90 million inhabitants and notoriously heavy traffic, Uber’s bus service would cater to a market of 5.2 million daily commuters on public transport, especially as most of the existing buses need urgent repair due to a train crash that occurred last month, killing 37 people. Egypt is among the deadliest countries for commuters with over 14,500 crashes in 2015 alone.
According to Uber’s spokesperson discussion with the authorities are ongoing regarding ticket pricing for the bus service. Most commuters are not happy with the price hike of the reliable metro system to 2 Egyptian pounds ($0.11). Uber’s bus service is expected to give a preferable alternative.
Although ride hailing apps are still unregulated in Egypt, Uber hopes to take on its competitors such as Careem by capitalizing on Egypt’s inadequate public transport options.
For Uber, a bus service has been long-coming. The tech company has tried out putting several passengers in the same vehicle with UberPool and UbeHop . The company has also pushed into public transit, striking deals with Summit, New Jersey, to offer subsidized transportation to commuters from their homes to the local train station. Similar agreements were made with San Francisco, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Cincinnati. Uber has also served as de fact0 public transit system for other cities in the United States.
The bus service in Egypt signals the beginning of further expansion of Uber in Africa. If its bus service does well in Egypt, the ride hailing service will find its way to other parts of Africa with huge population and substandard public transport options.