Commuters Bemoan Increased Fares as Uber and Bolt Hike their Prices Following Okada Ban in Lagos
Recently, the Lagos state government placed a ban on commercial motorcycles and tricycles (ride-hailing startups inclusive) in some areas of the state. The immediate effect of this is an inadequacy in transportation services around the state.
As such, many commuters turned to the ride hailing firms like Bolt and Uber to move around the state. they were however, met with increased charges on both platforms.
An aggrieved Uber user, Kingsley, stated that he had to pay N2,700 for a ride from Surulere to Bariga last weekend, a ride that normally costs him between N1,500 – N1,700. This represents a 37.3% increase, a weird spike considering that the ride was on a Sunday and there was no traffic.
Recently, also while trying to book a ride to Aguda from Obanikoro, Uber pegged the fare at around N3,500, a ride that shouldn’t cost more than 1.5k on a normal day.
Our CEO, David also confirmed the price hike. After taking a Bolt ride on Friday from Adebayo Doherty, Lekki to Faneye street, Yaba, and was informed by the driver at the end of the trip that his fare was N6,900.
“First I realised the driver was using an app that looked similar but not the same. His face on my app also seemed different. At the end of the trip he showed me N6,900.”David
“I told him I could not pay that since I didn’t see that on my app. I complained on the Bolt app then gave him 3,000 that I will balance if they revised it. Eventually Bolt reduced the price to 1900 but he hasn’t refunded my 1100. Saying that the app cannot be correct,” David said.
Similarly, a friend of his took a Bolt ride from Adebayo Doherty Lekki to Ikeja and got a weird bill of N20,800 at the end of the trip – a trip that normally cost between N3,200 – N3,800. However he contested the fare and got a significant reduction to N4,500.
Many have also taken to social media to complain about the massive surge in fares by the ride-hailing startups in Lagos. A Twitter user, @trafficbutter claimed to have taken a ride from Ikorodu to Unilag and paid N6,000. That was two times over what it should cost on a normal day before the Okada ban.
Another Twitter user lamented having to part with N2,350 on a Bolt ride because of the surge compared to the N400 she would have spent if Okadas and Kekes were in operation.
Unlike before when prices only skyrocket during rush hours or crazy traffic, this unusual surge has caused many people to relate the surge to the Okada ban, accusing Bolt and Uber of capitalizing on it for their gain.
Following the ban, more users are beginning to order for rides at even light periods, hence the increase in fares by the ride-hailing startup. And from reactions, this is making commuting worse for many who are already having trouble due to the Okada ban as they have to part with more than they normally should.
However, speaking to Nairametrics, Efosa Aiyevbomwan, Head of Communications for Uber West Africa, confirmed that there a surge and it is as a result of dynamic pricing.
“Dynamic pricing is automatically triggered when there is a sudden flood of requests, and this is used to encourage more drivers to get out on the road in response to increased demand.”
Thus, according to the spokesman, the surges are to encourage drivers to get online and accept ride requests, since there are so many coming in. Although Efosa claims this is temporary, at least till the massive requests stop coming in there’s is no definite timeline for the prices to return to normal, .
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