Uber cash experiment begins

Uber are using SA as a Guinea pig. Quite why they don’t use Guinea as a Guinea pig is slightly beyond me, but still, SA it is. The experiment in question is whether cash payments for your Uber ride is a good/viable alternative to the “traditional” credit card.

South Africa becomes the first country in Uber’s global network to experiment with cash payments across five cities simultaneously and was selected because of its low credit and cheque card penetration.

Indeed. Apparently, cash makes up 65% of all transactions in SA, and while Uber says:

Uber riders in South Africa already have access to a reliable, convenient transportation; paying by cash just means more South Africans can enjoy this.

What they obviously also mean is that more people can use Uber and therefore increase their profit margins. But there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s how business works. In fact, it’s quite nice that for once the customer gets something out of it as well.

So, with the rest of the world moving away from cash as a payment form, I was interested to learn that Uber thought that this was a big enough deal to try this experiment. While the 65% figure above suggests that it makes sense, how many of the individuals who are making those cash transactions actually have a smartphone (which is still required for an Uber account/booking)? Smartphone penetration is “over 45%” in SA, and I would have thought that debit/credit card ownership (there are over 50 million cards currently in circulation in SA) would have covered most of that 45% already. Also, I’d reckon that the majority of people who don’t have a card wouldn’t live in urban areas anyway.
Urban areas are where Uber operates. Urban areas and Port Elizabeth.
In short, I’m surprised that Uber feel that a lack of a cash payment option was the rate limiting factor here.

Not everyone will have the cash option just yet. It’s being rolled out, and once you get it (I have, although I’ll probably never ever use it) you’ll see this screen upon opening your Uber app.

And yes, of course, you can still choose a cashless option, so, much like your hot cross buns being Halal, this shouldn’t really negatively affect you at all. *ahem*

As for safety, with Uber drivers carrying cash now, will they become more of a target for thieves, skollies and skelm? Hopefully not, say Uber:

While it is unlikely that driver-partners will be carrying a large amount of cash, they will be able to deposit cash, at any time, into various FNB ATM’s across South Africa. We have also encouraged them to do regular deposits and keep as little cash on them as possible (by using their cash to pay for fuel and supplies).

Which is sensible. And it should be remembered that “regular” taxis carry money around all the time and we’re not hearing reports of them being mugged 24/7.

Well, no more than anyone else, anyway.

Leave a comment | Tagged , , | Posted in economic issues, in the news, positive thoughts, this is south africa

Snowy Russian Graveyard

But not for people; for old Soviet stuff.


Herewith the photography of Danila Tkachenko, which is engaging firstly because of its subject matter and the context thereof:

Tkachenko sees the Soviet Union’s aspirations and failures, and a rejection of the pursuit of political and technological utopias. “My project is a metaphor for post-technology apocalypse,” he says.

I would say that a lot of my photography is simply a reaction to pseudo-Marxist predispositions noting the currency of revolutionary recognition, together with the symbiotic link between national liberation and social emancipation. Or, at other times, because I think a flower looks pretty.


Secondly, I found this line interesting:

After identifying a location, Tkachenko would wait for fog or snow before shooting with a Mamiya 7. He favoured a small aperture and long exposure to create a dreamy, otherworldly feel.

You can do lots of things with exposure time and aperture size if you’re a good enough photographer (no, not me). But even that skill wouldn’t work were it not for the prevailing weather conditions. The combined results are stunning – depicting an monochromatic oxymoron of futuristic relics, lost somewhere in the clouds.

You can see the other 31 photos in the project here.

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Dutch balloons

This shot of some hot air balloons over the Netherlands impressed me.


It’s a brilliant example of how less can be more. It’s hugely effective as an image despite the fact that there’s actually hardly anything in it. Fantastic use of negative space.

I’m not brave enough to do stuff like this. Except by accident.

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Objects In The Mirror

Here’s a new video from a-ha for Objects In The Mirror, it’s “the video is meant to be a gift to the fans… a condensed version of the visuals from the tour”. And yes, I recognise some or perhaps even more of these from Bergen. I may never be able to forget the mannequin violinists (some homage to The Sun Always Shines On TV there).

It’s directed by Jonas Bjerre, lead singer of Danish band Mew and partner in crime of a-ha’s Magne in their side project, Apparatjik (with Coldplay’s Guy Berryman and Swedish producer Martin Terefe). You may remember them from such posts as Snow Crystals and the catchily-titled New Apparatjik album in February.

And I’m not sure there could be a more fitting song to sign off the tour with:

Looking back is bittersweet
Love, the world was at your feet
Lift your eyes above the street
This is where you once belonged

as the three cute wolf cubs start to dance in unison.

Leave a comment | Tagged , , | Posted in cast in steel 2016, music, positive thoughts


After my praise of yesterday, today was rather different. The whole family has been rather tetchy throughout.

You know how it is. You can’t really put your finger on what isn’t quite right, but there’s just stuff simmering, waiting to blow.

Thankfully, it never quite all went off, though there were a few misses. Even the beagle was on edge.

But why? I have no idea. In fact, if anyone can work out why there should be such a difference between two apparently entirely similar days (And what can be done about it), there’s probably a Nobel (Peace) Prize in it for them.

Reset buttons will hopefully be pressed by a good night’s sleep.

Leave a comment | Tagged , | Posted in the parenting bunny