Cairo streets are the first to receive the first fleet of Uber’s newest product, and will soon have access to the second product announced: Uber Lite.
After three months of prototyping, Uber Bus has officially launched in the Egyptian capital; making Cairo the first city on the globe to launch this brand new Uber service. Earlier this morning, after a sunny trip to the Pyramids of Giza, Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber's CEO joined the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC) Sahar Nasr on stage to announce the new service before the press and demonstrate the roadmap of this vertical expansion. Along with the mass-transit service, Uber also announced it would bring Uber Lite, a new version of the rider app built to work in low connectivity, and with older Android devices, across the Middle East region early next year.
"Our mission is essentially to be a mobility on-demand service for cities all around the world," Khosrowshahi tells Startup Scene. "Cairo is an incredibly lively city and we're big believers of the Egyptian economy and we think that with a service such as Uber Bus and our ability to dynamically route; we think we could bring a solution to Cairo's traffic problems."
The CEO is quite aware that this is not an overnight process; "This is going to take a lot of experimentation and partnership with the city and government as well," he adds. "We believe this is going to be a multi-year investment for us."
Uber Bus, a product built for Cairo, incorporates Uber technology into the city’s already popular minibus system to provide safe, seamless, and efficient trips. Cairo is the first city globally to be rolling out Uber Bus and is an important step as Uber broadens its platform to be more accessible so that truly anyone, anywhere can get a ride. When Cairo residents request a Bus ride through the standard Uber app, Uber will find other passengers travelling in the same direction so that everyone can get to their destination with fewer stops. As the rides are shared with other Uber passengers, the price is affordable enough for everyday use, while still maintaining Uber standards.
“Uber’s investments highlight the attractiveness of Egypt’s investment climate," says the minister. "Having opened its Centre of Excellence in Cairo in 2017 with an investment of around $20 million, Uber has now, in 2018, chosen Cairo once again, this time for the launch of Uber Bus.”
Uber Lite, the new, space-saving app works in low connectivity areas and on 99% of Android devices. Uber Lite’s new interface was designed to make booking rides quicker and lighter in spotty connectivity, on basic Android phones, and for people with limited data plans. The product is already being testing in parts of the region with plans to roll out early next year.
Giving a speech after Uber's CEO, Nasr reiterated the MIIC’s support for companies investing in Egypt to expand their presence; explaining that among the first things that an international investor eyes in a country is the mass transit system. “With a global company like Uber choosing Egypt to launch Uber Bus is a testament to the success of the investment climate after the latest regulatory reforms," she says. "Uber’s new investments will benefit from the new investment law and the ride-sharing regulations, as well as the roads and bridges infrastructure the country has put in place.”
Uber has been testing Uber Bus since September 2018 to ensure the safety and seamlessness of the product prior to its launch. The initial rollout will start by covering the areas of Nasr City, Heliopolis, Greater Downtown, and Mohandeseen, and will expand across Cairo in upcoming months. Bus is the latest addition to the Uber app in Egypt, joining the UberX, Select and Scooter options.
Main Image: Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at the press conference.
Courtesy of #MO4Productions. Photographer: Mohab Mohamed.
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