Internet ride-sharing service Uber says it will cut fares on its UberX option in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban by up to 20% during the quieter winter period.

Uber, in a statement, said that riders tend to venture out less during winter and that “this can be tough for driver-partners as this time spent idle is time they’re not earning”. UberX is the company’s cheapest ride option on the app and the planned price cut is expected to kick in from April 7.

Uber further explained in a statement that when it reduced fares in cities such as Nigeria’s Lagos, Poland’s Warsaw, Turkey’s Istanbul and Australia’s Perth, demand for the service rose as well as payments to driver-partners.

“We know that this period is considered a slow time for driver-partners and through experience, we know price cuts help both riders and driver-partners,” said Alon Lits, Uber’s Sub-Saharan Africa general manager.

“It’s important that Uber remains an attractive option for driver-partners – without them, we can’t help keep our South African cities moving.

“We believe these changes will help, but while each city adjusts to the new prices, we are putting in place minimum payment guarantees for driver-partners. And if the amount driver-partners make on the road isn’t what we expect, we’ll reassess this price change,” said Lits.

Uber launched in South Africa in August 2013 and late last year the service launched an operation in Port Elizabeth.

Earlier this year, the company said that it has moved over 500 000 riders across South Africa since its launch.