Starting Monday, 11th of May, riders will start paying 13% extra charges on the economic option for the Uber ride-hailing app – UberX.
While the information was contained in electronic mails sent to all Uber drivers, the company highlighted the need to ensure a reliable earning opportunity for its driver-partners as one of the reasons for the price hike.
“At Uber, we remain committed to providing a reliable earning opportunity for driver-partners, as well as a reliable and affordable service for riders. With this in mind, starting 11th May 2021, we are increasing prices on UberX by about 13 percent,” the mail read in part.
Although, the hike in the fare price is not entirely strange, considering the series of events that rocked the ride-hailing space in the past few weeks.
Recall that Uber and Bolt drivers under the umbrella of Professional E-hailing Drivers and Partners Association (PEDPA), went on strike sometime in April.
The event which took place in Lagos had the drivers protesting against unfair treatment which majorly stems from underpayment.
As such, they sorted for an upward review of e-cab fares to reflect the current economy which is currently battling both recession and inflation simultaneously.
Part of the drivers’ request also includes that the company should reduce the commission charged on rides from 25% to about 10%.
“Instead of fixing a new and reasonable fare in line with inflation, the companies have recklessly continued to maintain the low fare, thereby, impoverishing hard-working young Nigerians who are diligently and lawfully trying to make a decent living,” National President of PEDPA, Mr. Idris Shonuga, stated at a news conference in Lagos.
While the first request has been granted, it is still unclear, whether the company will bow to pressure and do justice to the latter, by cutting down the percentage cost on commission.
PEDPA demands adequate welfare package for Uber drivers
Although the need to adjust fare price as well as cutting down the percentage charged on commission is the two most emphasized demands, the association also demanded that Uber should offer a more adequate welfare package for its drivers.
The welfare package, according to PEDPA, will consist of compensation to the families of those that lost their lives or are permanently disabled in the line of duty.
Adding to its demands, the association said that at least 15 drivers had lost their lives, while some had been permanently disabled in accidents in the course of the service.
Furthermore, PEDPA said more than 20 others have also lost their lives through kidnapping or killed by ritualists without any compensation from the operators.
Hence, the association asked that the ride-hailing make further review and amendment in that regard.
Riders continue to take the fall
Great development for drivers, however, at the expense of the comfort of riders who again like other times will take the fall.
Apart from the fact that Uber’s decision may not be fair on the path of the riders, it is the second time in barely seven months that the company will be increasing its fare price.
Back in October 2020, Uber increased the minimum fare base of ₦400 by 25%. Same for the base fee and per kilometer fee which also increased by 10% and 8%, respectively. Then, riders were charged ₦220 and ₦65 as against the initial ₦200 and ₦60.
Fast forward to now, the ride-hailing company is announcing another increment that will mostly impact the riders.
On the contrary, the company has refused to heed the majority demand to cut down on its own commission.
It is quite unfortunate that riders will continue to bear the burden, especially amid an inflation-induced economy while the company, on the other hand, watches from afar.
However, it is too early to make conclusions as both Uber and PEDPA are still in talks.