Uber, the smartphone transportation service, conducted 2bn trips over the first half (H1) of 2016 worldwide. The company also aims to launch its UberPOOL service, which will enable individuals living in the same area to ride the same car when moving to the same destination.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Uber’s head for Europe, Middle East, and Africa Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty said the company believes the Egyptian market has many growth opportunities for investment in the coming period.
What is Uber’s strategy in the coming period?
The company’s growth strategy did not change. We aim to provide customer service and link passengers to drivers via a single click. Uber targets expansion in the Middle East, specifically Egypt, as the country has the lion’s share in the company’s growth rate.
How do you see the Egyptian market?
Uber celebrates its second year in Egypt. We began injecting investments into the market worth up to EGP 500m to cover expanding to different governorates, provide customers service, support drivers, and develop our team.
Uber, however, does not have a timeline to spend these investments. We care about covering the entire Egyptian market.
It is worth noting that the Egyptian market is different from the European ones, where Egypt suffers from over-population and traffic congestion, as well as environmental pollution and lack of parking spaces. This is why Uber could be the solution. Our services limit traffic jams and reduce the number of cars on the streets. Uber has become an alternative to owning a car.
Uber has also spread a positive impact on the community. We reduced unemployment rates, provided jobs, and increased the income of others. About 40% of our drivers were unemployed before joining Uber.
What about the growth of the company?
Uber grew significantly in the first half of 2016. We conducted 1bn trips throughout 2015. The number grew to 2bn trips through the first half of 2016 alone.
How do you see the chances of Uber’s growth in Egypt?
The transportation network in Egypt does not reach all areas, as citizens need to take several transportation methods. The cost itself is also high. Uber provides a modern technology to improve the transportation sector and reduce traffic. At the same time, the service comes at affordable prices. This boosts our business growth opportunities in the Egyptian market.
The most important opportunities that we deem in Egypt is the continuous traffic congestions and pollution, where we provide a comprehensive transportation network that secures easy transportation from one place to another.
What are the challenges you face in Egypt?
The technology offered by Uber is just like any other technology that is new, namely spreading the technology and culture of requesting cars via smartphones. Despite the growth in Egypt, the company aims to stimulate it even further. Our team here is still small and we hope to grow it in the coming period.
What are your plans for Egypt?
Uber aims to partner with government agencies, especially the Ministry of Transportation. We signed a partnership agreement with a railway company in New Jersey in the United States to move passengers to the station. This saved the company a lot of money as it did not have to build a parking space. It also reduced the risk of traffic congestion. We hope we can implement similar ideas in different countries.
We also recently launched the UberPOOL service in over 30 different countries. This allows four passengers to ride one car from the same pick up location to work or university. The local market here needs a similar service, and this is why Egypt is a candidate to potentially enjoy this service very soon.
How do you see competition in the Egyptian market?
Uber has around 40,000 drivers in Egypt. We always welcome competition. This would prove we are on the right path and offer good technology. In general, competition stimulates all companies to provide premium services to customers.