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If you’ve ever wondered whether Uber or its drivers foot the bill for discounts offered by the company, you can now rest easy.
While the company has been giving users discounts for select events and occassions in South Africa in the past, I’ve been getting a slew of discount offers in the past three months, including a percentage off a select number of rides, or a maximum of R40 off others.
I wasn’t too sure why, but I wasn’t not particularly disgruntled by it either. It means that on trips that would normally cost R35, I’d only pay around R5. And often I’d be left with a bill of R0.
So we asked Uber South Africa how its discount structure functions, and if drivers ultimately lose out from R0 rides.
The answer, it turns out, is no.
“Promotions offered to riders are part of our marketing efforts across South Africa and is paid for by Uber on behalf of riders and do not impact driver earnings,” it told us in an emailed statement.
The company added that the “purpose of these promotions is to increase the number of riders using Uber, which should lead to higher earnings for driver-partners”.
Uber isn’t the only ehailing company that uses this ploy though. When Taxify (now Bolt) first entered South Africa, discounts were offered to nearly every ride I took. In some cases, it was even cheaper than Uber.
The latter also recognises discounts as a chief way to encourage “weekend riders to use Uber during business hours”.
“Since launch, we have been offering riders various promotions and discounts. We continue to evolve and look for innovative methods of giving our riders more benefits and reward loyal riders when they use the Uber app,” the company added.
Ultimately, all you really need to know is that Uber discounts don’t negatively affect drivers.
But if you really want to do drivers a solid, perhaps don’t leave any animals, or dirty laundry, behind after your trip.
Feature image: One of the more recent Uber discounts that have appeared on the app, by Andy Walker/Memeburn