E-hailing firm inDrive is seeing steady growth in South Africa, as more commuters choose to make use of the bargain-your-ride e-taxi service.
By Sibahle Malinga – ITWeb senior news journalist
According to the company, more South Africans have been downloading and using the inDrive app since it became the first e-hailer to zero rate its service in January.
The California-headquartered company tells ITWeb it is looking into introducing new services outside of the ride-hailing arm in SA soon.
The Uber and Bolt rival made its local debut in 2019, and has since expanded to nine local cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Gqeberha, East London, Pietermaritzburg, Rustenburg and Polokwane.
It entered the African market in Tanzania in 2018, with the service now available in over 645 cities across 45 countries.
Despite a challenging macro environment, the company says it has seen rapid growth, with an 88% year-on-year increase in gross revenue globally. In SA, inDrive says it is witnessing steady growth, although it is not in a position to disclose its user numbers or detail its imminent new services.
“We see an increasing number of users in SA,” says Vincent Lilane, business development representative at inDrive Southern Africa.
“inDrive is currently the second most downloaded ride-hailing app in the world and ranks in the top three of the most popular apps in SA, having recently emerged as the fastest-growing app in its industry in 2022, according to research firm data.ai (formerly App Annie).
According to data.ai, inDrive climbed from 42.6 million app downloads in 2021, to 61.8 million in 2022, to become the second most downloaded ride-hailing app worldwide – based on Google Play and App Store data.
It was also the most downloaded ride-hailing app in Morocco, Peru, Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Pakistan, Nepal, Namibia and Botswana.
The company says it provides users with a viable alternative to e-hailing rivals – through a flexible pricing model. The service does not offer standard rates for rides, but operates based on a peer-to-peer pricing principle, which allows passengers and drivers to directly negotiate a fare.
This ensures terms are as transparent and fair as possible, according to the company.
“The overall number of drivers working for inDrive is constantly expanding in SA, right along with the company’s footprint. We currently have drivers in nine cities across SA,” adds Lilane.
“Our goal in South Africa extends beyond simply increasing the number of cities in which we operate; rather, we intend to have a significant impact in the areas of employment creation, the modification of urban mobility to promote increased economic growth and having a positive societal impact.”
Lilane points out that operating in SA’s e-hailing environment comes with challenges. These include the increasing level of violent crime its partner drivers are subjected to on a daily basis; the current economic climate, resulting in rising petrol prices; and the lack of a regulatory framework for the industry.
“A non-existing regulatory environment leads to unfair pricing practices, lower driver wages and reduced safety oversight – all of which makes it more difficult for smaller companies to compete with larger ones. Ultimately, this results in a market dominated by a few large players, limiting fair competition,” he concludes.