Wesbank has partnered with Uber to offer a new R200-million vehicle solutions programme will offer driver-partners low monthly rates and access not based purely on credit ratings, but rather eligibility determined by their established earnings and quality record with Uber.
In terms of the partnership, Uber now offers existing driver-partners access to a specially designed full maintenance lease programme, enabling them to gain access to a vehicle at preferential rates, with a view to establishing their own passenger transport business in partnership and with the help of Uber’s technology.
This programme is valued at more than R200-million. It was developed by WesBank in collaboration with FirstRand’s Enterprise Development Fund, Vumela, which has pledged R20-million for the first 1 000 vehicles. Vumela will provide WesBank with financial risk mitigation and support measures, which will enable the provision of the full maintenance lease option for Uber driver-partners.
According to Alon Lits, regional GM for Uber in sub-Saharan Africa, this programme has the potential to change the lives of many Uber driver-partners.
“Anyone who has been driving using the Uber app for a reasonable time and has a good earnings and quality record, now has the opportunity to acquire a brand new car and start their own business full time,” he explains. “And, because the programme developed with WesBank offers rates that are significantly more competitive than these drivers would otherwise have been able to obtain, their business ventures have a far better chance of succeeding in the long term.”
Chris de Kock, CEO of WesBank, points out that the Uber and WesBank full maintenance lease program is the result of a shared commitment to innovative business principles. “We have recognised Uber’s ability to disrupt and transform the transport industry, while creating work opportunities for thousands of people across the world,” says de Kock. “Just as Uber has changed the way people think about transport, WesBank has changed the way people think about finance, resulting in the development of this game-changing programme.”
Heather Lowe, head of enterprise and supplier development at Vumela, adds: “The need for the development of entrepreneurs in our economy has afforded us the unique opportunity to be part of the solution to this challenge. Uber, WesBank, and Vumela all recognise the need to collaborate within the private sector and support government in creating a sustainable future for our country.”
The opportunity is not limited to drivers with an existing record of income with Uber but open to all prospective professional transport providers as well. Hertz, Europcar, Pace and Fleet Data Technologies have launched a short-term rental programme, negotiated by Uber, that gives drivers of metered taxis or other passenger transport vehicles the option of renting an accepted vehicle at improved rates. They can then use these vehicles, in partnership with Uber, until they have built an earnings and quality record needed to qualify for the full maintenance lease programme.
“People using Uber to get around have come to expect a reliable, affordable ride in a high-quality car,” says Lits. “We’ve seen many great drivers, who want to use Uber to boost their earnings but struggle to afford a vehicle that meets these standards. The option to rent a vehicle at more affordable rates removes this barrier for metered taxi drivers and other professional drivers who want to increase their chances for profit.”
Lits says Uber aims to enable 15 000 new work opportunities for driver-partners across South Africa in the next two years.