Ride-sharing app Uber has finally launched in Tauranga today, making the city the fifth in New Zealand to receive the service.
In December of last year, Uber put the call out for those interested in becoming drivers, and hosted information sessions with the community.
Uber New Zealand general manager Richard Menzies says the app will be live from midday on February 1, allowing anyone to request a ride.
He says there has been considerable interest in Uber in Tauranga, with around 40,000 customers from 76 countries opening the app in the city to see what's available.
“The response has been really positive, we've exceeded our expectations coming into the market. We've had hundreds of drivers register their interest and start the process, and we expect to have dozens on the road within the first week.
“If you're a new rider, we also have a promo code available to get $15 off your first ride: TGANZ15. Anyone in Tauranga who hasn't taken an Uber trip before will get the discount, so it's a great way to get people to try the product.”
Sample fares include $24 to travel from Tauranga Airport to the CBD, and $19 to travel from Mount Maunganui to the Tauranga CBD.
Richard also stresses that safety is Uber's number one priority, and is built into every trip.
“Drivers have to go through a ‘P' endorsement, which includes a police vetting check and driving history check. It means they're accredited by the government to be safe on the road and offer a passenger service. In addition to that their vehicle must have a certificate of fitness,” he says.
“We also have GPS tracking in place so we know where drivers and riders are, and we have a record of who they are and where they were picked up from. We also ask for feedback at the end of every trip.”
Despite Uber being predominantly an online service, requiring only a driver, a vehicle, and passenger, Richard says it is being rolled out gradually across different markets to ensure it performs strongly from the get-go.
“For us it's about making sure both our riders and drivers have a fantastic experience. So we have to make sure we have sufficient drivers to offer the service in a city, and that there is sufficient demand as well. That's why we focus on going market by market.”
How do I use the Uber app?
• Download Uber from the App or Android Store
• Register with Uber in the app by providing a mobile phone number and credit card, debit card or PayPal details for cashless payment
• Type in the address or name of your destination in the Where To? search box
• Check the upfront fare estimate to ensure you're happy with the price of the fare before requesting
• Request trip and await pick-up from your departure location (you'll see an estimated wait time in the app)
• Check the licence plate number, car colour and name of your driver match the details provided in the app
• As you open the door ask the driver to confirm their first name before starting a trip
• Enjoy your journey and safely exit the car upon your arrival
• Give your driver a rating out of five after the trip to help keep everyone accountable (they'll do the same for you)