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MultiChoice needed to transport critical employees during lockdown. Their choice? Uber for Business.

June 11, 2020 / Africa

MultiChoice brings entertainment, news and sporting events to the screens of more than 19 million households across 50 countries. Based in South Africa, the major broadcaster showcases local and international stories and has created thousands of jobs along the way.

But when COVID-19 hit, the South African government issued strict lockdown measures and put restrictions on when public transportation could operate. MultiChoice urgently needed a solution to bring their essential employees to work.

Television plays a vital role in social cohesion by keeping people informed, educated and entertained. Because of this, MultiChoice was deemed by South African law to be an essential service, which meant they were allowed to continue business during the lockdown

The show must go on, safely.

MultiChoice were faced with a few challenges. Being a TV operator, their customer care and broadcast technology operations also had to carry on. The peak time for customer care is in the evenings when people are watching TV and the broadcast runs 24/7 but public transport was not allowed to run past 8pm. So the first question was, how could staff get to and from work reliably during different hours of the day?

Another pressing issue? Health and safety—minimising the risk of getting COVID-19.

MultiChoice needed to look out for the health of their staff by sourcing safe transportation alternatives. They also had to limit the risk of exposure for their customers, who sometimes need to physically come into a service centre to replace or repair a faulty set-top box.

Johannesburg is the core of the broadcast for all 50 countries MultiChoice serves. If they were faced with a workplace that had to shut down due to too many cases of COVID-19, there would be no pay-TV for millions of households all across Africa. “Keeping this facility running was massively important to our customer base and a large number of families across the African continent,” explained Mark Rayner, CEO.

Getting the show… on the road

MultiChoice needed a safe, reliable way for their employees to travel to work. With limited timeframes for public transport and the inability to guarantee that minibus alternatives incorporated social distancing measures, they co-created a solution with their Workplace Forum around the offering from Uber for Business.

“In setting up a commute program, we wanted to know that the right people are using it and that they’re only using it to go to the right places and do the right kinds of trips. The toolset that Uber for Business provides is a very competent solution. It also gives us a close eye on all the costs and the control we needed to do it.”

Mark Rayner, CEO, MultiChoice

Not only was Uber available to essential workers at all hours, but it also offered a safer and sanitised way for people to travel. In addition, the Uber for Business platform gave administrators the visibility and control over trips and expenses. They could set a maximum number of trips per employee, for specific routes to and from the workplace, for specific business units. As Karen Simmons, Procurement Category Manager, said, “With Uber for Business, we know that every single cent that is spent has been to get an employee to and from work and to add value to the company.”

Uber for Business empowered the employees because they had a level of security and comfort that they had transport on call—they could order a ride in the timeframe that they needed it. “If we didn’t have Uber, it would have been a totally different world. Our employees would have struggled to get to work and there could have been a much higher infection rate,” Karen commented.

Close to 1,000 MultiChoice employees are active on the corporate account and they have completed tens of thousands of trips with Uber in just a few short months. The Uber for Business solution is used by 65,000 businesses worldwide.

“Uber for Business has provided critical employees at MultiChoice with a safe and reliable way to get to and from work during this challenging time. We believe this experience with Uber has saved lives and contributed to trying to flatten the curve, whilst ensuring uninterrupted service to our customers.”

Karen Simmons, Procurement Category Manager, MultiChoice

Interested in setting up a commute program for your organisation? Learn more here or reach out to one of our representatives.