A team of five young Cubans developed the mobile app “Sube”. The word sube means “get in” in English. This application is available for Android (iOS has to wait just for now), and pretends to ease some of the serious issues of transportation in Cuba, especially in the capital, Havana. With more than 2 million inhabitants and half a million of floating population, Havana experiments every day a tough reality in terms of transport.
Nevertheless, foreign visitors may not realize this, since the transport for tourism is well run by government and private taxi companies. Sube is meant primary to be used by locals, but foreigners are not exempt from its benefits. You only need a smartphone with mobile data and GPS or connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The application Uber is the inspiration for Sube. The developers affirmed that they knew about Uber, but they had never found out how it works, because is impossible to use it in Cuba. Other enterprising teams have developed new transport-helping applications, namely the apps RenC, Bajanda and other possible Uber-like apps (Cuber?).
With the growth of internet in Cuba: first with the creation of several Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas, and now with the emergence of mobile internet, this kind of software can be finally used. In past years, some developers created mobile applications based on SMS and offline messaging. The present apps, like Sube, have the opportunity of exploit the benefits of the new developments regarding connectivity in the island. Now, these guys have become the pioneers in this sort of applications, officially releasing Sube on December 17 of 2018.
The developers claim that the main advantages of Sube for a driver, is the chance of spotting passengers at any time from his phone. For a passenger, the possibility of finding active drivers around him/her and getting a competitive rate.
Useful, effective and quick are the three words that the team use to describe this app. Nevertheless, it is still too early to make a comprehensive evaluation of the operation of Sube. As long as the internet in Cuba continues its slow growth, it is hard to objectively evaluate mobile data-dependent apps in the country. Moreover, the previous issues and a lack of technological culture amongst many Cubans could be an obstacle for the growth of the app. This in precisely one of the aims of Sube: to help people get used to the opportunity of requesting a cab from the comfort of their own mobile phone. They are not making any money right now, and charging a fee to the drivers isn’t a consideration either. Subsequently, Sube is free!
Now, the Sube team must gather the most of drivers they can to boost the success of their innovative application. According to them, the number of users are in the thousands (with more than 250 drivers). One thing is sure, this team is trying to enhance transport in Cuba and at the same time, create a much more modern society that sometimes appears frozen in time.
Here we share how the Sube team visualize their application:
“Sube is a ride-sharing app to be used in Cuba. Our network of friendly local drivers will help you move around the country safely and fast. They’ll also guide you about the best places to go to and will share with you their knowledge of our customs, history, and culture.
Whether you need to go to the beach, to a great restaurant, to the craziest clubs, to a peaceful landscape, to a night at the theatre or just back to the airport, Sube will help you in choosing the right ride for you.”Sube Team
Here’s how it works:
- Open the app and request a ride.
- The app will see your location and will notify nearby drivers.
- Drivers will bid for your ride.
- Check the driver’s profile for rating, features, and pick the most convenient one.
- You can cancel the ride before the driver accepts the bid.
- Chat with your driver while on its way.
- Once the car arrives, scan the QR code on the driver’s phone to confirm it’s the right ride.
- After you pay the driver (cash, no other forms of payments in Cuba for now), go ahead and rate the driver, the car and your experience in it.”