• Home
  • /
  • Software
  • /
  • inDrive sees more locals opt for flexible e-hailing pricing

inDrive sees more locals opt for flexible e-hailing pricing

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 13 May 2024
InDrive has been making ongoing investment in safety capabilities.
InDrive has been making ongoing investment in safety capabilities.

InDrive has seen significant growth in South Africa, with more local drivers and riders switching to the bargain-your-ride e-hailing platform, it says.

The e-hailer claims to be the second most downloaded mobility app in the world, serving more than 100 million users in 749 cities across 46 countries.

The company has made a commitment to positively impact the lives of one billion people within its global ecosystem by 2030. It says it looks to pursue this target through its core business, which supports local communities via a fair pricing model, and through the work of inVision, its non-profit arm.

The Uber and Bolt rival established its South African operations in 2019, after making its African debut in Tanzania in 2018.

During an interview, Vincent Lilane, business development representative at inDrive Southern Africa, tells ITWeb the company’s goal in SA extends beyond increasing the number of cities in which it operates. It aims to have a significant impact on employment creation, and ensure increased accessibility in underserved and underprivileged areas of SA, generating a positive societal impact.

Without mentioning statistics, he attributes the company’s “significant growth” and resilience in SA’s competitive e-hailing market to two key factors – inDrive’s unique business model and its intentional approach to safety.

“To be honest with you, South Africa is a tough market to operate in. There are a lot of factors to consider, beyond just introducing advertising campaigns and partnerships to grow the business. Factors that are important to South Africans are safety, especially for women and children. For drivers, its being able to have an income during this tough economy,” notes Lilane.

“With that being said, what makes inDrive grow is that our business model offers riders freedom of choice in terms of the price they pay, which they don’t get from our competitors. We have a strong focus on underdeveloped, underprivileged communities, as well as on young professionals who are starting out their careers. These are people who would ordinarily not be able to afford an e-hailing ride on a regular basis, but our business model makes it possible.”

Through a flexible pricing model, the app operates on a peer-to-peer pricing principle, which allows passengers and drivers to directly negotiate a fare for each trip. This ensures terms are as transparent and fair as possible. Fares can be as low as R50 less than what other e-hailing firms charge for the same distance. If a driver rejects an offer, the rider can negotiate the fee with other drivers available on the app.

InDrive operates in nine South African cities: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Gqeberha, East London, Pietermaritzburg, Rustenburg and Polokwane. The company says in the last year, it has doubled the number of employees who operate from its Cape Town and Johannesburg offices.

The firm has been making ongoing investment in safety capabilities on its platform, according to Lilane. These include an emergency in-app panic button, live trip monitoring tools and a feature that blocks requests coming from high-risk crime zones.

The past few years have seen e-hailing drivers hold nationwide protests, urging government to intervene in the increasing crime incidents they are subjected to, at the hands of criminals and rival metered taxi operators.

“Through the app, we are able to look at dangerous areas in society and automatically block out those areas, making it impossible for drivers to receive requests from those areas. Through this we’ve been able to significantly reduce incidents of crime and danger for drivers, and we are continuously looking at ways to keep our passengers and drivers safer.”

Usually, most requests from these “high danger zones” are not legitimate requests, but are staged by criminals purporting to be riders, Lilane adds.

The company recently premiered its InDrive documentary, which offers viewers a glimpse into how a start-up founded far from the advantages and resources of the world’s tech hubs, in Yakutsk, Russia, reached unicorn status.

The inDrive documentary is free to watch.