It's been just over five weeks since Uber launched in Rotorua. Zizi Sparks finds out how the service has been tracking since then.
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Uber is happy with the uptake of the app since its launch in Rotorua more than five weeks ago, despite a seemingly low number of cars on the app at any one time.
Logging on to the Uber app at 8.30am and midday on a Wednesday, no cars were available in the city at any point. At 3pm, there were five cars visible.
But an Uber spokesman told the Rotorua Daily Post the company was happy with the uptake so far and expected the service to grow.
"We pride ourselves on flexibility and the driver-partner's choice to go online whenever they want.
"We can't guarantee they will be online at any given moment – in fact, a large number of our driver-partners access the Uber platform in the evenings and on weekends to complement their day jobs," he said.
"We recommend keeping an eye on the app for when a driver-partner does come online. As more driver-partners sign up to the platform and meet the required qualifications, we're confident the supply of available driver-partners will increase in Rotorua."
Uber could not supply data including how many rides had been completed since launch, their value and how many drivers had signed up in Rotorua.
There are no plans to launch Uber Eats in Rotorua.
Tauranga local Kamiria Clark drives Uber in the city but comes to Rotorua to drive on weekends.
She estimated she had completed 700 trips across both cities in the past year though just "a few rides in Rotorua".
"I'm not getting too many rides there but it will pick up no doubt. I try to get over on the weekends."
Clark said there wasn't as much competition in Rotorua as Tauranga.
"I do think it will get off the ground. It will take off ... It can only pick up."
Roger Wallace drove for between four and 10 hours per day and said he had done at least 230 trips since launch.
He said the service was slow to start but picked up when people found out about it.
"The majority of my business is with international travellers. I get a lot of trips from hotels to the airport. I do six to eight visits in a day to the airport.
"The beauty of it is you can drive when you please. You're not tied to any regimental time."
Rotorua Taxi Society committee Simran Singh said Uber in town had not affected business.
Singh believed most Uber drivers were mostly working on weekends while Rotorua Taxis had a 24/7 service.
Rotorua Taxis has 35 drivers. They are not allowed to also work for Uber and Singh said none had jumped ship.
When Uber first came to Rotorua New Zealand's country manager Amanda Gilmore said from their research, demand for the app was ever-increasing in the city.
She said Uber had tracked thousands of people opening the app in Rotorua looking for a ride.
She said the number of drivers would be small initially but as the word got out, there would be a good portion by summer.
Uber driver qualification requirements
- Be at least 21.
- Have held a full New Zealand licence for at least 12 months.
- Obtain a P endorsement, Certificate of Fitness and Small Passenger Service Licence Label.
- Comply with work time-related rules including recording work time.
- Have at least four doors.
- Have a model year of 2009 or newer.
- Be in good driving condition.
- Be registered and have at least third party property damage car insurance.