More choice for commuters with new transport service
THE BATTLE for taxi e-passengers in Joburg has started.
With more and more people relying on taxis – especially over weekends and public holidays to avoid driving drunk, and traffic and parking problems – a new company that connects drivers to passengers, called Jozibear 24/7, has entered the market.
App-based companies don’t own the vehicles but merely facilitate the rides, making their fares generally cheaper than other taxi operators.
These days commuters can use Uber, a US company started in 2009 and entering South Africa in 2014. It operates in 58 countries.
Following on its heels was Taxify, an Estonian company active in 15 countries.
Jozibear went live last October and is available in Joburg, Durban and Cape Town, but hopes to expand to Nigeria and Mozambique.
Founder Craig Geswindt said its operations were similar to the other two app-based companies.
“We already have 100 drivers on board whom we screen through interviews, fingerprinting and checking of criminal records,” he said.
There were at least four incidents last year in which passengers were attacked in Uber vehicles. Three of the cases took place in the Fourways/ Sunninghill area. Passengers had climbed into the vehicles and were then attacked by robbers hiding in either the backseat or boot.
In two of the matters, the women were allegedly raped, robbed and assaulted.
Two men were arrested but the charges against them were later provisionally withdrawn.
With the new service, passengers would be asked to tip the drivers if their service was good, said Geswindt. Uber and Taxify leave this to the passengers’ discretion.
“We believe that this will psychologically assist in making our drivers take extra special care when driving passengers,” he said.
The JoziBear app was introduced in the City of Joburg in April last year. According to the website ride.guru, a site which compares taxi costs, it offers the least expensive rates.
Many of the larger taxi companies are also now using apps to arrange rides.
We fingerprint them and check for criminal records