While Uber is making waves with its limited-access rollout and Secret Ubers programme, local companies are also making it known that they’re vying for a piece of the on-demand taxi market. The first to respond to the Uber threat was Cape Town-based Zapacab,

The second is SnappCab, which today announced its imminent arrival. While Zapacab relies on a web app, SnappCab has gone for Uber’s model of having a dedicated smartphone app. The SnappCab app will be available for Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Apple devices – but all versions are currently in closed beta, making it difficult for outsiders to test the service at the moment.

When it does go live, though, the service will first be available in Johannesburg, and later roll out to Cape Town and Durban.

The three minds behind SnappCab have two goals, for their startup: getting more South Africans to use cab services, and creating jobs.

To help them achieve that, the app for their service works very similarly to Uber’s. Users register, and hail a cab using the app. The nearest cab is notified of the fare, and a user is notified – there’s also the option to accept responses from only certain cab companies. Accepting a cab will share details between the driver and passenger, including photos to help them recognise one another, while a user can also track the cab’s progress towards their location.

Unlike Uber, which uses luxury vehicles for a premium experience, SnappCab has partnerships with existing taxi operators and companies. Payments can also be made using cash or the app, which stores credit card details for convenience. SnappCab also touts the ability to have a single account shared among many users. Parents could, for instance, give their children access to an account and thus no money has to change hands to ensure the kids have a safe ride home.



Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.