International ride-sharing app Uber has arrived in Hawke's Bay, offering residents another transportation option.
The app launched in Napier and Hastings at 3pm on Wednesday.
Uber's New Zealand country manager Amanda Gilmore said the company was thrilled to be in Hawke's Bay.
"I think it will be an excellent addition to the transport options that are available.
"When we thought about where we wanted to launch next, we really focused in on areas where there is a great tourism industry, education, university towns, and growing populations, and I think Hawke's Bay fits the bills without a doubt."
The company is able to track how many people logged into the app within a region, and noticed thousands of people attempting to get a ride in Hawke's Bay during the past year.
"That's a great indicator to us that there is going to be demand, that there are tourists and locals who are already familiar with the service and want to use it."
The average wait time for Uber is five minutes, although Gilmore said this might not the case from launch in Hawke's Bay, as it will take some time to build up the driver base.
"I feel confident that we will get to a place in the relatively near future where those wait times are relatively low."
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"All of the trips are GPS tracked, you can see the name of your driver, and their licence plate, and some details about them.
"We also have some interesting features, like you can dial 111 from within the app if you ever need to, you can share your trip with trusted contacts.
"And we have the two-way rating system, which is another means to make sure riders and drivers who are using the platform stay safe, hold each other accountable and provide feedback on how the experience was."
Hawke's Bay Today contacted several taxi companies for this story, but did not hear back.
The first Uber ride
In an attempt to be the first Uber rider in Hawke's Bay, I had all the information loaded into the app at 2.59pm and was sitting, counting down the seconds to the launch.
At 3pm, I hit the button and waited.
Uber had warned me the wait time of five minutes was a little unrealistic at launch, and by 3.10pm the app had connected me with a driver, Clarence Hermon.
I watched a little car on the app go through the streets of Hastings, and within a couple of minutes Clarence was waving at me.
It's possibly a slightly intimidating experience when a journalist jumps into the back of your car, gleefully tells you a photographer is waiting at the destination and asks "so why are you driving Uber?"
But if he was nervous he didn't let on, joking he would have put on his suit if he had known.
It took a couple of attempts to tell the app he had managed to pick me up (I was his first ride after all), but by 3.20pm we were heading from the newsroom on Heretaunga St East, to the Hospital.
Clarence told me he runs a Wine Tour company, and decided Uber was a good way to supplement his income.
He already had the passenger endorsement licence needed to drive for the company, and had used the company in other cities, so decided it would be a perfect fit.
By 3.25pm we were pulling up at Hawke's Bay, the entire experience costing just over $11.
It was money well spent. I gave Clarence five stars.