BY: Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb Senior News Journalist. 

After successfully trialling its minibus service in Cairo, e-hailing firm Uber says it is looking to further expand the Uber Bus offering across the Middle East and Africa region.

In 2018, the Egyptian capital became the first city in the world to introduce Uber Bus, also known as Uber Shuttle, as a result of increased user demand.

With Egypt being among Uber’s top 10 global markets, in terms of the number of monthly trips recorded, the firm says it decided to trial the daily commuter service in the country over for a couple of years.

Speaking at an Uber event held this week in Cairo, Egypt, Frans Hiemstra, GM for Uber in Middle East and Africa, said the service has seen huge demand in Cairo and the company is eyeing expanding it to other markets within the region.

“This region is a very important one to be able to innovate, test, modernise and constantly improve how we do things. Egypt specifically has allowed us to try and test Uber Shuttle, and hopefully, it will expand to other new markets.

“Uber’s vision has always been to expand and transform in the markets that we operate in,” noted Hiemstra.

When a user requests a ride through the app, the platform uses artificial intelligence to find other bus passengers travelling in the same direction, collecting the user at the nearest pick-up stop.

According to Uber, being able to share rides with other Uber passengers allows the price to remain affordable enough for everyday use for those travelling to and from work, while still maintaining the e-hailer’s safety standards.

Uber has been operating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for over 10 years, having transported more than 40 million people since inception, said Hiemstra.

Another milestone, he added, was the important role Uber played during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, which saw it transport over 2.6 million riders to and from the event.

Over the last year, Uber has seen a 30% increase in the number of MENA drivers registered on the app.

“The growth in the number of drivers we add to the platform facilitates the customer growth we’ve seen. We have ambitious plans for this region – which revolve around the 2030 Vision to transform mobility, as the region moves forward in leaps and bounds.

“We want to move forward in a more sustainable and eco-friendly manner,” Hiemstra concluded.


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