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Uber Increases Fares, Disregards Drivers’ Demands

Tunbosun Oyinloye

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Uber Increases Fare Prices, Disregards Drivers’ Demands

Popular e-taxi hailing company, Uber, has announced an increment for its fares.

This communication was made via a mail notification sent to selected customers.

Starting from Tuesday, October 6, UberX riders will be charged above the usual fare prices.

For starters, UberX is the economy version (alternative) of the ride-hailing platform.

While it is relatively cost-effective, using this platform would mean ordering for a private cab.

In the latest development, Uber increased the minimum fare base of ₦400 by 25%.

Now riders will have to pay ₦500 instead.

Source: Technext

Also, the base-fee and per kilometre fee have increased by 10% and 8%, respectively.

Now, riders will be charged ₦220 and ₦65 as against the initial ₦200 and ₦60.

However, the company retained the old price charged per minute put at ₦11.

Despite failing to meet drivers demand

Interestingly, Uber’s decision to increase its fares comes amidst many concerns about the platform.

Firstly, the drivers plan to embark on a strike due to the platform’s ill-treatment.

Many drivers complained that the e-taxi company has indulged in excessive charges.

While this cuts across the board, Uber seems to be the most exploitative in this case.

The e-taxi company charges 25% as commission.

On the other hand, Bolt only charges between 15% and 20% of all fares.

In that light, drivers have over time requested a reduction, but to no avail.

Also, recall that the Lagos state government recently released a new guideline for e-taxi operations.

ALSO READ: Lagos State Heeds to Outburst, Revises e-Taxi Regulations

Then, Uber and Bolt’s drivers resulted in a week-long boycott of the ride-hailing apps.

The boycott was to protest against the new regulation which is deemed counterproductive.

Uber has failed to meet the drivers’ needs despite their complaints.

Futile effort from NUPA-BW and related unions

The e-taxi drivers aren’t alone in their fight against ill-treatment across the board.

The National Union of Professional App-based Workers (NUPA-BW) has also lent its voice.

The Union served as the channel through which ride-hailing drivers made their demands known.

In their propositions, the Union wants Uber/Bolt to charge a minimum fare of ₦1000.

According to the Union, doing this will improve the drivers’ welfare.

Now, in adherence to this request, Uber effect only 50% of the proposed fee.

Uber Increases Fares, Disregards Drivers’ Demands

Source: Transport Day News

Again, this increment has only met displeasure from the e-taxi drivers’ end.

Speaking on this, President of Professional e-Hailing Drivers and Private-Owners Association, Idris Oluwaseun informed that:

Uber’s price increment wasn’t initiated by the e-taxi drivers’ unrest and demand.”

According to Oluwaseun, Uber failed to contact the drivers before making its decision.

As such, he considered Uber’s reckless fare increase as  a “joke.”

He further confirmed that drivers would proceed with their proposed plan to boycott Uber.

Similarly, the president of NUPA-BW, Comrade Ibrahim Ayoade believed that Uber imposed its decision on drivers and not the other way.

According to Ayoade, Uber flouted part of its policy that projects drivers as independent contractors.

The problem is that Uber doesn’t really take us as real independent contractors.”

Otherwise, we are supposed to have an input in the new development,” Ayoade added.

He further said that the newly implemented price is far below expectations.

Also, he frowned at Uber’s decision to implement the new price in Lagos State alone.

Why just Lagos State?

Again, Uber has painted the picture that it likes Lagos State above others.

One would expect that decisions such as this would be unified across the board.

On the contrary, Uber has only implemented the new price for Lagos State alone.

Disregarding the obvious that Lagos is the economic hub of Nigeria, why isolate other states?

ALSO READInnoson Motors Debuts Ride-hailing Service in Enugu, Plans to Offer Hire-Purchase

Well, it’s non-debatable that Lagos State contributes the biggest revenue for Uber in the region.

However, this is most likely a progressive action.

As such, it is expected to be implemented in other states as well.

NUPA-BW pulls out of proposed Uber/Bolt app boycott

As stated earlier, Uber/Bolt drivers are set to embark on a strike on October 12.

This is an attempt to boycott the use of the popular apps.

Uber Increases Fares, Disregards Drivers’ Demands

Technext: Comrade Ibrahim Ayoade

However, Comrade Ayoade said that the association calling for a boycott is illegal.

He also claimed they are doing so for selfish purposes.

According to him, the plan is rather to promote rival-platforms. An example, in this case, is the recently joined ‘MyKab.’

Ayoade feels otherwise about the motive for the boycott, hence the union’s pull-out.

In his words, Ayoade stated as follow:

There can’t be two Unions in one trade according to Nigeria constitution and labour law,”

We have NUPA-BW as the only union for gig work and App-based Workers.

The so-called association calling for strikes is only to promote Mykab.

We aren’t going to join what looks like a set-up to promote another app company.

What Techuncode thinks about this development

Truthfully, we think that Uber/Bolt riders are not wrong to ask for more benefits.

On the other hand, this may be detrimental to users.

While drivers have failed to contextualise this, the e-taxi companies are doing so.

Uber, as we believe, in this instance, is trying to reach a middle ground.

As such, it is not totally in favour of the drivers.

At the same time, it is avoiding a negative impact on users.

App users fear possible affiliation between Uber/Bolt drivers and SARS

In a related development, concerns have been raised about Uber/Bolt drivers.

In recent reports, e-taxi drivers have said to be allegedly collaborating with Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officers.

This follows numerous allegations against SARS personnel.

Some of these allegations include illegal harassment and extortion of Nigerian youths.

Footage of a youth harassed by SARS after being stopped in a Bolt ride surfaced online.

Subsequently, more individuals have stepped out to share similar ordeals with SARS during trips.

While the conversation took a different turn, Bolt responded via a press statement.

According to Bolt, the driver in question debunked claim of possible affiliation with SARS.

“He was instructed to drive them to a police station in Surulere,” the statement reads.

Bolt further confirmed that their record backs the driver’s claim.

“The trip which began in Okota was thereafter terminated in Surulere,” Bolt claimed.

Also, the driver maintained that he did not have prior knowledge of the incident.

Neither was he working as an accomplice of SARS officers.

In the later part of the statement, Bolt reassured of its continuous support.

It also stood against any form of brutality targeted against its riders or drivers.

What Uber/Bolt drivers’ independent contract means

It is also of utmost importance to clarify that Uber/Bolt riders are independent contractors.

Although clearly stated in both platforms’ policies, not many people are aware.

Or better still, a lot of app users do not know the implication.

ALSO READPlentywaka, Innoson Join Forces To Expand Business Operations

The Independent contractor clause implies that e-taxi companies are not liable for their drivers’ actions.

In other words, there is no employment agreement or partnership between either party.

More so, the e-taxi platforms only function as a middleman for drivers and riders.

In this regard, here are a couple of eye-opening facts to know:

  • Uber/Bolt does not incur damages when you get robbed on a trip. Better still, if you misplaced an item; it’s at your own risk.
  • Uber/Bolt cannot be held responsible for the action/inactions of its drivers. The clause here is except “if Bolt has deliberately violated the contract.”
  • The company, under no circumstances, cannot release a driver’s information. There is, however, an exception for a “lawful request.” This could be from a law enforcement agency or any appropriate government authority.

In conclusion

The e-taxi sector is currently experiencing its greatest reform so far.

Hence, activities such as price inflation and app boycott are inevitable.

Regardless, only time will tell which approach is sustainable or not.

What do you think about the increase in fare implemented by Uber?

Kindly share your thought with us as a concerned app-user in the comment section below.

Oyinloye Bosun is a writer at Techuncode. Although not a gadget freak, he has a keen interest in familiarizing himself with every technology product - software or hardware. He also loves to arm himself with the knowledge of tech activities/events taking place both on the Local and International scenes. The provision of the above has pushed him to choose writing as a profession. Wondering if he has a hubby? Yes! He loves streaming tech-related podcasts in his spare time.

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