Uber launches in Christchurch

Uber launches in Christchurch

Uber starts in Christchurch today, offering free rides for two weeks.

Rugby player Israel Dagg was in Christchurch to mark the occasion with Uber driver Kirsty.

Uber is a based on a ridesharing concept, all done through an app on your phone. It's offering five free rides to customers over the next two weeks.

General manager for New Zealand Oscar Peppitt says it's a chance to test out the service and for people to learn how it works.

Drivers have gone through screening, including criminal background checks from the Ministry of Justice and driving history checks from the New Zealand Transport Agency.

"We're really, really excited," Mr Peppitt says.

It's taken a year of behind-the-scenes work for Uber to launch today but Mr Peppitt says he's amazed at the number of Cantabrians who have shown interest -- 10,000 residents have downloaded the app and roughly 6,000 applied to be a driver.

"I've never seen numbers like that before," he says.

"It's kind of like, we didn't choose Christchurch -- Christchurch has chosen us."

Israel Dagg and Uber driver Kirsty (Newshub.)

All vehicles will hold a current warrant of fitness and every trip will be insured. Technology helps to ensure safety before, during and after every ride, including giving riders information about their driver, tracking trips using GPS from beginning to end, enabling riders to share their ETA or route and incorporating feedback.

Uber is currently also in Auckland and Wellington.

Mr Peppitt says Christchurch is a unique city going through a big rebuild and Uber is excited to be part of the change.

Newshub.

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