"Dozens" of Bay of Plenty drivers have signed up to be a part of the ride-sharing app Uber which is scheduled to launch in Tauranga next week.

Mount Maunganui woman Bridgette Irwin has signed up to be one of the first Uber drivers in the area.

Irwin had been running her own driving service for the past 12 months and said she dealt with many tourists who used the app in other cities in New Zealand and overseas.

"Everyone has positive things to say about it and are really keen on cheaper fares."


She thought Uber would "go well" in Tauranga, especially with those who had used the app before.

Irwin thought "the younger generation" who used technology on devices such as their phones would benefit the most.

"The positive thing about Uber is it's all done online within a minute you can locate a driver, arrange a pickup and you can track them as they head to you.

"They [the passenger] know your type of car and rego number, they also can see your Uber profile photo so know what the driver looks like," she said.

Irwin said the driver had to identify that the person getting into the car was the person who ordered the Uber to avoid random people jumping in cars.

"You ask their name and where they are going to make sure it matches up," she said.

Uber spokeswoman Nicky Preston said the company was "very excited" to launch in Tauranga on February 1.

"We know Tauranga has been calling out for ridesharing for a while now, and we're excited to respond to that demand," she said.


About 37,000 Uber customers from 76 countries had opened the app in Tauranga, and from next week they would be able to order a ride, Preston said.

She said "hundreds" of residents had enquired about becoming drivers for Uber and "dozens" were signed up and ready to start driving next Thursday.

"It's a great opportunity for locals to earn flexible income, driving during peak travel periods and major events."

Preston said Uber was launching in Hamilton this week which would make Tauranga the fifth city in New Zealand to launch the app behind Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Taxi Cabs Tauranga spokesman Bruce Rainey said it would be "business as usual" for the local taxi company after the launch of Uber next week.

He said, in his view, Uber drivers may "struggle" to make a decent income as the ride-sharing app was launching in a smaller region compared to other larger cities and the length of the ride would be shorter.

"It will be interesting to see how they go," Rainey said.

About Uber:

-All requests are made through the Uber app.
-Using your device's GPS, the app will show you drivers close by based on your location.
-Once you've put in your destination, you can choose different pricing options such as economy and premium and tap on each to see wait time, size, and price. Once a driver is requested, the driver will arrive in minutes.
-The driver's contact information and vehicle details will show up in the app, so you know you're getting in the right car.
-Once the ride has ended, the passenger can rate the driver.
-The fare will be charged to the credit card on file, so cash is never needed.