Can ride-sharing or e-hailing such as Uber replace car ownership?

ride-sharing or e-hailing - or e-hailing -
ride-sharing or e-hailing - or e-hailing -

Can ride-sharing or e-hailing such as Uber replace car ownership?

The hike in petrol prices gets people talking and wondering whether owning a car is really the best option. In South Africa, public transport is much criticized and ride-sharing apps such as Uber, Bolt and Didi are therefore experiencing huge growth. Many city dwellers are choosing to get rid of their cars in favour of using a ride-share app to commute to work and back as well as for social engagements.

But is this a wise choice? Is it cost-effective?

To work this out, we need to examine the cost of car ownership. Over and above the monthly instalment, you need to factor in petrol, maintenance, parking costs (including tipping and valet), traffic tickets and insurance. 

Then you need to work out what your weekly or monthly mileage is and the cost on the app. Note that Uber pricing models are difficult to predict primarily due to the large number of inputs that are consumed in the marketplace algorithm. There are many built-in variables that constantly consider real-time events, such as driver location, number of ride requests, time of day, weather conditions, etc.

Let’s say you drive a 2020 Suzuki Swift and commute 5km to work. Then let’s compare with a 20km commute.

Car instalment R2750
Average maintenance R900
Insurance R700
Parking R130
Traffic tickets R350
Petrol R1200
Total R6030

If you are using an Uber to get to work 21 times in a month and to four social engagements of the same distance, your monthly Uber bill will be about R3750. This means that if you have a short commute to and from work, using the app is a lot more cost-effective than owning a car. Remember, you have to consider the convenience of owning a car; standing in the rain waiting for an Uber is no fun at all.

However, if you work 20 km away from home, you could pay as much as R300 per ride just using Uber X which is not the luxury option. The same number of trips would cost you R15 000 – making car ownership the more prudent option.  

With the cost of living shooting up and petrol prices outstripping inflationary increases, perhaps it’s time to reconsider car ownership but only if you live close to or in a major city. We found that e-hailing is far less reliable and convenient as soon as you leave the major centres and the costs rise exponentially when you exceed the 6km distance of trips.

Article Courtesy of

ride-sharing or e-hailing -