Uber offers drivers 10% increase in earnings amid talks of boycotting the app in Lagos

Ejike Kanife
This is coming weeks after e-hailing drivers operating in Lagos state threatened to boycott the Uber app
Uber makes its first profit since becoming public in 2019

As e-hailing drivers in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos continue to boycott the Uber app following a clampdown by the state’s Ministry of Transportation, the e-hailing company is offering drivers on its app a 10% raise in their earnings. This is according to a communication sent to drivers and seen by this reporter.

According to the message, starting from April 2 2024, the company will be offering UberX drivers an increase of 10 per cent on both per kilometre fare and per minute fare.

From April 2nd 2024, we will be reflecting increased fares on the UberX product to give you the best possible earning opportunity. Weekday and weekend fare: Per kilometre fare: 10% increase. Per minute fare: 10% increase,” the message reads.

Nigerian drivers' union accuses Uber and Bolt of trying to hijack and impose a yellow union over the e-hailing industry
A driver used to illustrate the story

Although the company said the increase was due to “the current macroeconomic situation”, most of the drivers who spoke to this reporter believe it remains a ploy to get drivers returning back to the platform.

See also: Edo State to introduce API integration for Bolt, Uber and other e-hailing operators

Uber’s run-in with the Lagos State government

This development is coming weeks after e-hailing drivers operating in Lagos state threatened to boycott the Uber app following a clampdown by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation. According to the ministry, the clampdown was because the company refused to provide access to its database through API integration with the ministry.

Therefore the ministry decided to take action against the e-hailing company. Unfortunately, it was the drivers, styled independent contractors, that were bearing the brunt of the clampdowns as their vehicles were summarily impounded. According to one driver, the agents of the ministry lured unsuspecting drivers by booking a ride on the e-hailing company’s platform and accosting the drivers when they came for the pickup.

“If Uber has a problem with the government, we drivers are not supposed to be affected. I’m not an Uber staff, I don’t work for them. I only use their app. So it’s surprising to me now that my vehicle is impounded, my tyres deflated, and nobody could explain the reason this thing is happening to me,” Sunday said.

Following the ministry’s refusal to stop clamping down on vehicles and Uber’s hesitation to grant full access to its database through API integration in accordance with global best practices on privacy, the drivers have become more wary about using the app, especially around Ikeja and other business and administrative districts.

E-hailing Drivers' Week-Long Boycott: Uber/Bolt Lose Up to ₦50 million, 9,900 Drivers Comply and the Way Forward
Lagos State MoT clamp down on Uber drivers

Indeed, in a communication by the spokesperson of the Lagos state chapter of the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria (AUATON) seen by this reporter, drivers operating in the state were advised to either avoid flashpoints or to boycott the Uber app entirely to avoid falling victim of the government’s clampdown.

“As a responsible union, we aim to protect our members from the subjugation of this app company and the Lagos government. Therefore, we recommend temporarily ceasing the use of the Uber app,” the statement said.


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