Uber. The online transportation networking company which has globally disrupted how to get from point A to B at a lower cost and in a chic way is now in Ghana. Uber is a German word which means ‘above’ or superior. Superior way to get transportation in short.
When I first heard of Uber coming to Ghana, it was more of a whisper passing through the grapevine ears of techies in Ghana. ‘Have you heard Uber is coming to Ghana?’ whispered many. Noone really knew anything until some months ago when it seemed that this was no filla but fact indeed.
I first used Uber in Manhattan. It was such an exhilaration experience to use the Uber Black and UberSUV. A premium service compared to the low cost UberX which is what has been rolled out in Ghana. UberBlack and UberSUV was luxurious and cheaper than taking a typical NYC Yellow Cab. Aside having the ability to connect our Spotify with the car, the drivers were Uber nice and professional with a deep knowledge of the city. Of course, there’s a much superior addressing system in New York for getting around.
On June 9th, Uber launched in Accra at the Chinese hotel; Tang Palace. It was a dreary day in Accra as the city got flooded yet again during a heavy downpour. I myself, was caught in traffic which was crawling during rising waters in Kanda. Very scary experience. Naturally, I got there late. I couldn’t help but wonder if Uber would consider bringing in UberSUV to Ghana taking into consideration our giant pot-holed roads and flood situations.
— Uber Ghana (@Uber_Ghana) June 8, 2016
I got there just when Uber General Manager Sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits shared who they were partnering with to ensure a successful growth in the Ghanaian market.
Uber has partnered with local companies like MTN (free phones for first 100 drivers) , SMSGH ( mobile money payment on Uber) and strategically with the Ministry of Transportation and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (you can guess the reason).
After the successful launch, I went around meeting friends and guests who got invited to the launch asking of their opinion of Uber launching in Ghana. Will it work? The responses were mostly positive. Some confessed that it wouldn’t be an easy thing for them to do, with some stating several factors which Uber might have to overcome.
Leon Mwotia, AfuaRida and a guest.
Nicole Amarteifio and friends at the launch.
Flippy Campus founder Amishaddai and his girlfriend.
Checking out the Uber app.
AfuaRida and her Mom.
That’s me and Ameyaw Debrah. Blogger tins.
Will Uber succeed in the Ghanaian market? I believe they can but it won’t be an easy mountain to conquer. Nothing really is easy after all. These are the factors I believe they must overcome;
- The Ghanaian laggard attitude- We are very slow at adapting to change especially technological changes. The average Ghanaian who has a smartphone with all kinds of features and functions limits the ability of the phone to using only WhatsApp and sometimes Facebook. It will take awhile for them to download the app, the next will be to trying to use it. That will be another challenge. I shared the uber app voucher on a church Whatsapp group and I got zero comments on it. Those who watch things shared on Whatsapp without commenting have seen it. Will they try it? Did they have question on it, I wouldn’t know.
- Internet & Technology Literacy – I requested an Uber yesterday. It was a struggle for the driver to read the map to find my location which in my opinion was pretty easy. I was just a junction away from Nyaniba Estates Junction. I ended up taking the usual dropping because I was late to a meeting. I have friends today who have no clue of how to use Google Maps. Millennial friends who have no idea of how to get around the city using the easy mapping system. So what of the drivers to be used for Uber in Ghana. Regular training on how to use the mapping system for these drivers should be a priority for UberGhana. I cancelled the trip but the poor guy didnt even realise it and called to tell me he was at my location. Ha!
- GPRTU skirmishes- The Ghana Private Road Transport Union will be rising up soon. Have they even heard of UBER in Ghana? Just like many associations in Ghana, they don’t even have a website or a social media presence. When they do finally hear of the online transport app, Uber should expect some kickbacks. But this will be quelled by AMA who has partnered with Uber.
Ghanaians reacted differently on social media when they heard of the news of Ubers arrival. It was a three-fold split between those who have used the service before and welcomed it, those who have heard of it and were excited to have it here as well and the minority negative who never have anything positive to say about anything and won’t provide substantial points to back up their negativity (the pure critics who act like they are perfect little gods in a non-existent world)
Some claimed Uber will be bad for the Ghanaian economy (without really having hard facts to back this up)
@edemkumodzi they'll displace a lot of cab drivers and majority of their profits will not be invested in Gh..
— Maarty Kaan (@80GRIOTS) June 9, 2016
Some were elated over the cheaper rate at getting around the city. Rightly so.
— Emmanuel Quartey (@equartey) June 9, 2016
When I tweeted that Uber would be cheaper than dropping, the curious dropped by to say hello.
— Naa Oyoo Quartey (@OyooQuartey) May 19, 2016
Bloggers like Kajsa run polls to test the pulse of Ghanaians about Uber.
How do You think @Uber_Ghana will do in Accra?
— Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha) June 10, 2016
About a month ago I shared a post on Facebook about Leon Mwotia doing a presentation at MEST about UBER. Read the comments on the post.
I then shared the free rides offer on my Facebook and got many responses (positive & negative).
Others have tried it and love it.
Uber’s presence in Ghana, will create business opportunities in Ghana. Think of an app which will be useful for Uber in Ghana and create one. Don’t just sit there and gripe and grumble and do nothing about it. We like that too much. Complain with no solutions for anything.
Anywho, what do you think of Uber in Ghana? Another EasyTaxi ending? Or a brighter longer future here?