A Napier woman who wants to use Uber to travel around Hawke's Bay says the newly-launched service lacks the number of cars to make it more attractive than taxis.
Uber launched to much fanfare in provincial NZ cities almost two months ago, but one taxi company says the ridesharing giant has failed to make a dent in its operations.
Calista Wood said she had used Uber in Auckland and Wellington but has struggled to use it in Hawke's Bay.
"I like Uber because there's no hassle. It's two clicks away instead of waiting on the phone to a taxi company and I've usually found it's significantly cheaper too.
"But so far between the few cars and all of Hawke's Bay, I think it'd take longer to get an Uber than to call a taxi, so I haven't been able to use it," she said.
Hawke's Bay Today has opened the app at random times in the past few weeks, with only one car showing in Hastings each time.
Napier sometimes had no cars at all showing.
Despite this, Amanda Gilmore, Uber's head of driver for Australia and New Zealand, is happy with how Uber is tracking in Hawke's Bay.
"We've been delighted by the initial response from both riders and drivers in Hawke's Bay," she said.
Uber expects driver numbers to grow in the coming months, she said.
"With the prospect of an influx of tourism over the summer holidays we expect more driver-partners will discover the flexibility and possibility that Uber offers," Gilmore said.
"We are already experiencing an increase in mid-week night-time trips as people's calendars book up with social engagements."
Uber would not provide the exact number of drivers currently registered in Hawke's Bay because it is commercially sensitive.
The October 9 launch came as part of a long-awaited move to establish Uber in provincial cities, offering people another transport opportunity and a unique employment opportunity.
Wayne England, the general manager of Hawke's Bay Combined Taxis, said his company hadn't been impacted by Uber and he would be interested to see what happened in the coming months.
"I'm not sure there is the workload to sustain doing Uber as a full-time income in Hawke's Bay," said England.
His drivers are not permitted to also work for Uber.
Gilmore said Hawke's Bay Uber drivers were generally working part-time hours.
"Which makes sense because Hawke's Bay is a great market suited to flexible, part-time work and that's how we encourage people to use it - during the weekends and around events are when we see demand," said Gilmore.
One Hawke's Bay woman said she had tried to sign-up but was unable to because her car, a 2007 model Toyota, was too old.
Gilmore said vehicles were required to be less than 10 years old to ensure safety for both riders and drivers.