Different Types of E-Hailing Services in South Africa

Updated on 29 May 2024

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e-hailing services in south africa

E-hailing services have transformed the transportation sector in South Africa. These services offer convenient, safe, and affordable travel choices, influencing urban mobility greatly. South Africa has seen an increase in e-hailing platforms catering to various needs and preferences, resulting in a diverse market.

The South African e-hailing market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate and reach R147 million by 2030.

If you are considering joining the e-hailing industry, then here are some of the names of e-hailing services to consider.

Top E-Hailing Services in South Africa

1. Uber

Uber, which launched in South Africa in 2013, is the most well-known e-hailing service in the country. Operating in major cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria, Uber is popular and is now another word for ride-hailing in Mzansi. They also offer several options to cater to different needs:

UberX – The most popular and affordable option.
UberXL – Suitable for larger groups or those needing more space.
UberBLACK – A premium service offering high-end vehicles.

2. Bolt

Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, entered the South African market in 2016 and quickly became a serious competitor to Uber. Bolt is known for its low prices and good earnings for drivers, making it an attractive alternative. It operates in many cities and offers a service similar to Uber:

Bolt Basics – Standard and cheap.
Bolt XL – For larger groups or extra space.
Bolt Premium – For the ultimate experience.

Bolt’s competitive pricing and efficient service have made it a popular choice among South African commuters.

3. DiDi

DiDi, a Chinese e-hailing giant, launched in South Africa in 2021. It has rapidly expanded, primarily targeting Johannesburg and Cape Town. DiDi offers competitive pricing and a strong focus on safety, including in-app emergency buttons and rigorous background checks for drivers. DiDi’s entry into the market has provided more options for consumers and increased competition.

4. InDrive

InDrive, which operates on a unique negotiation model, allows passengers to propose their fares and drivers to accept, counter, or decline the offer. This model, introduced in South Africa in 2019, appeals to budget-conscious users and has gained popularity in cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.

5. Zebra Cabs

Zebra Cabs, while not as widely recognised as Uber or Bolt, offers a reliable e-hailing service primarily in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Zebra Cabs distinguishes itself by integrating traditional metered taxis with modern app-based booking, providing a hybrid solution that appeals to a broad range of users.

New E-Hailing Services that Have Entered the Market

Apart from the big companies, different local e-hailing services have started in South Africa. They focus on specific groups of people and offer special features that make them different.

Launched on 1 May 2024, Shesha uses a cashless system through a secure wallet system that will provide safety for both riders and drivers. An emergency ride for clients with a history of 10 or more trips is also available and ensures a safety net during unforeseen circumstances.

BozaRide launched in three major metropolitan municipalities in Gauteng on 29 March 2024. BozaRide uses a facial biometric verification system to avoid registration of multiple accounts by the same users and unauthorised uses of the app. The app has a mandatory one-time pin functionality for all trips, a zone risk feature (to alert drivers when driving in high-risk areas), and another functionality to disclose the number of riders upon request.

The Future of E-Hailing Services in South Africa

Looking ahead, South Africa’s e-hailing industry is likely to continue to grow and diversify to answer the needs of commuters where public transport leaves a gap. Future trends include the integration of autonomous vehicles, rural expansion, and transportation systems that combine e-hailing with other forms of transportation. Growth will continue to transform cities and increase transportation across the country.

Additionally, e-hailing services have created employment opportunities for thousands of South Africans. Many have turned to driving for these platforms as a primary or supplementary source of income, which has been particularly valuable during economic downturns. Across Africa, Uber provided more than 29 000 jobs. Moreover, South Africa became the first country outside the US to have three cities operating Uber’s model simultaneously.

The South African e-hailing market is diverse and dynamic, with many services catering to different needs. Global giants like Uber and Bolt, newcomers like DiDi and InDriver and local ones like Shesha, provide options for South African businesses and operators to grow. It is a thriving industry and has the potential to improve urban mobility, create jobs and contribute to better public transport. With measures and the right regulatory framework in place, e-hailing services can play a significant role in shaping the future of transport in Mzansi.

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