Ride-sharing company Uber will expand into Otago in the coming months.

Dunedin and Queenstown will be the sixth and seventh cities in New Zealand where the sometimes controversial ride service is available.

A food delivery service based on the app, Uber Eats, will also be available in Dunedin.

Uber New Zealand general manager Richard Menzies said Uber was exploring options to expand into Otago, almost four years after it was first made available in Auckland.


Customers use the app on their smartphone to find, hail and pay for rides.

Locals would have the opportunity to earn extra income by signing up as drivers and the company would be holding information sessions next month, Mr Menzies said.

By expanding into the two locations, Uber was aiming to alleviate pressure on existing taxi services during weekends and major events like rugby games, he said.

Fares and pricing would be set closer to the launch date.

The San Francisco-based company will start advertising for drivers next week and information sessions will be held in Dunedin on April 11 and Queenstown on April 12.

Uber does not employ drivers; rather it takes a cut of each fare for the use of its app.

Its food delivery app, Uber Eats, works in a similar way.

Once the information sessions have finished, the company says it will assess the local market and aim to launch some time in May.


Uber has been criticised both in New Zealand and overseas for flouting local transport laws and not leaving drivers with a large enough percentage of the fare.

Uber's cut of the fare in other cities is about 25%.

Concerns about the safety of passengers have also been raised.

But spokeswoman Nicky Preston said since the Government made changes to the NZ Land Transport Bill, all drivers needed to hold a P endorsement on their full licence and be over the age of 21.

Each driver needed to pass a background check, be insured, be able to be tracked by GPS, and hold accreditation.

Since launching in New Zealand in 2014, the app had been downloaded about 400,000 times and there were about 4000 drivers registered, she said.

What is Uber?

• A ride-sharing app that can be downloaded to a smartphone.

• Customers enter their destination and using GPS, the app finds free drivers close by.

• An estimate of the fare is shown on the phone before the ride is accepted.

• All the driver's information is available, including vehicle registration.

• Payment is made online by credit card so no cash is needed.

• Once the ride is over, both the passenger and the driver can rate each other.