Uber has decimated the metered taxi business. Though the company has made a large number of mistakes in the last couple of years, there seems to be no stopping them. A handful of other taxi and ride-sharing companies have tried.
Lyft and Taxify are but two other options available in South Africa. No matter how much controversy surrounds the massive $70 billion Uber Technologies company, it remains head and shoulders above the competition. Step up, Daimler and BMW.
Daimler And BMW To Tackle Uber
German giants Daimler – the parent company of Mercedes – and BMW are set to stick it to Uber. The world’s biggest luxury vehicle makers are planning on teaming up and merging their car-sharing operations to take on other ride-hailing operations.
The company’s will set their bitter rivalry aside and form a 50 / 50 joint venture.
This will include Daimler’s Car2Go and BMW’s DriveNow businesses operating in tandem. All the bells and whistles will be incorporated, such as smartphone apps, parking locating services and electric vehicle recharge stations.
ParkNow, Parkmobile, myTaxi, Chauffeur Privé, Clever Taxi, ReachNow, ChargeNow and Digital Charging Solutions will all fall under the same umbrella.
This may be the biggest effort yet to stave off competition from Uber or tech upstarts like Waymo.
“As pioneers in automotive engineering, we will not leave the task of shaping future urban mobility to others,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz.
“There will be more people than ever before without a car who will still want to be extremely mobile. We want to combine our expertise and experience to develop a unique, sustainable ecosystem for urban mobility.”
The deal hasn’t been finalized yet – US and European regulators still need to approve it. It shouldn’t be too long, though, before they get the green light.
The two companies will still remain competitors in their respective core businesses.
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Car2Go and DriveNow
All across the globe, the younger generation is opting out of car ownership and signing up for hourly rentals instead. It’s simply more affordable, and in densely populated areas, well, sometimes owning a car is more of a burden than anything else.
Living a metropolitan lifestyle, people don’t necessarily need to own a car anymore. We only need mobility.
Neither Car2Go nor DriveNow are currently available in South Africa, but we do have Locomute, which is basically the same idea.
With Car2Go and DriveNow, drivers are able to essentially rent a car for the purpose of getting around. It works out way more affordable than running your own car and it saves you the hassles of garaging.
A user signs up for membership and downloads the app on their phone. Need a car? Ask the app where the nearest company car is parked, head on over, unlock the car with the app, punch in the membership number and off you go.
The app even tells you how much juice is in the car. Your account is charged by the minute, though, regardless of destination travelled. When you arrive at wherever you need to be, you park the car in a legal parking space and walk away.
Could a service such as Car2Go work in South Africa, where the crime rate is so incredibly high? Or in Cape Town, where the elusive parking space is revered as some mythical, unobtainable treasure? How many wheels would need to be replaced every morning?
A couple of years ago, if you didn’t own a car you were on the road to living in a tent by the river. Since then, we’ve had Uber, the MyCiti buses, the Gautrain, etc.
Despite the progress, though, SA is still very much in the slow lane.