Uber and Bolt drivers in Lagos have today embarked on a week-long massive boycott of e-hailing apps in protest against low trip fares and inequitable working conditions.
This comes after Uber and Bolt drivers under the aegis of Professional E-hailing Drivers and Private Owners Association (PEDPA) had threatened to withdraw their services to compel operators into upwardly reviewing trip fares due to higher running costs arising from inflation in the country.
Several e-hailing drivers in Lagos have already suspended operations, with many staying back at home while others have come out to protest against the static low fares charged by Uber and Bolt. The drivers have also formed a monitoring and compliance team to enforce compliance among drivers.
A Bolt driver who spoke anonymously to Technext said, “We are on strike. Some of us are staying at home and have put off the apps. But some of our colleagues are protesting in the streets. Bolt and Uber will definitely feel it.”
Drivers Voice Out their Demands, Insist on Negotiations
E-hailing drivers are demanding that Uber and Bolt increase trip fares to make up for the greater expenses they incur on purchasing petrol, acquiring vehicle spare parts, among others in light of the current economic situation.
Some drivers are also pushing for operators to set trip minimum fare price at N1,000. The video below shows compliance officers monitoring drivers’ cooperation with the boycott plans.
In a phone call with Technext on the drivers’ boycott, President of the National Union of Professional App-based Workers (NUPA-BW), Comrade Ibrahim Ayoade disclosed that Uber and Bolt have continued to neglect drivers’ demands.
We have been protesting at various times since 2016 till now yet the operators have not responded to our welfare demands. They have never for once called us for a roundtable discussion or even respond to the letter we usually send to them.Comrade Ayoade Ibrahim
“They don’t see us as driver-partners under their platform and that is the major problem we have with them. If they call us driver-partners, then they should at least have a meeting with us and let us know the new developments within our own business,” he added.
Recall that e-hailing drivers have in recent years been calling for an increase in ride fares. However, Ayoade says Uber and Bolt continue to remain aloof by not engaging drivers in discussions.
“The only thing is maybe they send a mail to us or ask us to mail them. That is all,” he said.
He also maintained that drivers are going ahead with the class action lawsuit against Uber and Bolt to intensify calls for them to be granted workers’ status and access associated welfare benefits.
On paper they call us driver partners, but on operation, we are workers.Comrade Ayoade Ibrahim
Uber, Bolt Hike Trip Fares amid Boycott
Uber and Bolt have increased trip fares due to a higher demand for rides occasioned by drivers’ strike action. A lot of drivers are boycotting, with only a few available for rides, and this has forced a price surge from operators.
Riders are the ones bearing the brunt as many people can either not get a ride or they have to pay much higher charges for the few ones on ground.
Bolt fares are up by almost 100%. For instance, a 3 minute trip from Karimu Ikotun to University of Lagos which usually costs N500, is currently priced at N1,000.
Apparently, Bolt drivers are on strike that’s why there’s been a surge since morning.Amaka on Twitter
While the e-hailing drivers’ boycott is set to go on for at least the next five days, it remains to be seen if Uber and Bolt will finally reach a compromise with aggrieved driver partners going forward.
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