Starting today, riders with popular e-hailing service, Uber Nigeria, will be charged higher fares on UberX.
Uber has reportedly sent out emails to its UberX drivers to notify them of the upward review in fares. UberX is the economy option for many riders who want a private ride at the least possible cost.
In the new price regime, the ride-hailing platform has increased its minimum fare by 25%, from N400 to N500. Uber’s base fare, previously N200 is now 10% higher at N220.
Although the amount charge per minute by Uber remains N11, the amount charged per kilometre for every trip has been increased by over 8% from N60 to N65. What this means is that Uber riders will now pay relatively higher fares on all UberX trips as from today.
Also, Uber’s increased pricing decision coincides with plans by e-hailing drivers to embark on a strike in protest against ill treatment by Uber and Bolt.
Recall that Technext first reported the week-long boycott of both the Uber and Bolt apps by e-hailing drivers in protest against the new Lagos regulation. The report highlighted the drivers’ grievances at not being factored into the process as well as the total disregard of their welfare in the final document.
Uber Riders To Pay More than 20% Extra Fare
Going by the new pricing figures for UberX, riders will have to pay more than 20% in fares compared to what they paid before.
Whereas riders were previously charged a minimum fare plus base fare of N600, they will now be charged an additional 20% (N120) totalling N720. The minimum fare and base fare are constant, and therefore can be used to estimate the minimum extra fare payable by riders.
For riders, on every trip Uber calculates an upfront fare including the base fare as well as rates for estimated time and distance of the route. The system produces a range which shows the minimum and maximum fare payable.
While riders will still be charged the same amount of N11 per minute by Uber, the amount charged for every kilometre covered will be N5 higher at N65.
For instance, if a rider takes an Uber trip which lasts 45 minutes and covers a distance of 17km, a time fee of N495 and distance fee of N1,105 will be charged. The N495 is the same amount that would have been charged before. However, the rider will now pay N85 (N5 for each km) more than the N1,020 payable before the fares were increased.
Drivers’ Demands Still Not Granted
Prior to Uber’s decision to increase fares, ride-hailing drivers were vocal in making their demands known through the National Union of Professional App-based Workers (NUPABW). During the e-hailing drivers’ week-long boycott of Uber and Bolt apps, they proposed that Uber/Bolt charge a minimum fare of N1,000.
The union insisted that this would be necessary to improve drivers’ welfare. Although Uber has now increased its minimum fare to N500, the amount is still only 50% of what the drivers demanded.
The new price regime hasn’t gone down well with e-hailing drivers and they have made their displeasure known. Speaking with Punch, President of the Professional e-Hailing Drivers and Private-Owners Association, Idris Oluwaseun opined that Uber’s fare increase was spurred by prior drivers’ unrest and demands.
According to him, Uber drivers were again not contacted before the decision to raise fares was taken. He labelled the fare increase a “joke” and stated that the drivers will go on with their plans to boycott Uber and Bolt apps from October 12.
President of the National Union of Professional App-based Workers (NUPA-BW) Comrade Ibrahim Ayoade told Technext that Uber reaching that decision by itself and imposing it on the drivers only shows that it doesn’t really consider the 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 so-called new price increment on the platformComrade Ibrahim Ayoade, National President, NUPA-BW
Speaking on the new prices, the comrade said the new fares are far too low and beneath their expectations. He also chided Uber for implementing the new pricing in Lagos State alone as if drivers in other states and Abuja don’t matter.
Speaking on the proposed strike and October 12 boycott of the Uber and Bolt apps, comrade Ayoade said the association calling for the strike is an illegal one whose interest is the promotion of a rival e-hailing app called ‘Mykab’ and therefore his union cannot be a party to it.
“There can’t be two Unions in one trade according to Nigeria constitution and labour law,” he said. “So we have NUPABW as the only union for gig work and App-based Workers. The so call association calling for strikes is only to promote Mykab. We don’t know anything about it and aren’t going to join what looks like a set-up to promote another app company.”
Asides increase in pricing mechanism, drivers had also requested a reduction in the percentage commission charged by Uber/Bolt. As of now, Uber still charges drivers 25% commission on the total fare paid for every trip. Bolt charges between 15% – 20% of all fares.
Neither Uber nor Bolt has yet to downwardly review the percentage commission on fares. Coupled with these demands was a call by the drivers’ union for the Lagos state government to cancel out the N20 Road Improvement Fund levied per trip.
While Uber is yet to comment on the fare increase and its rejection which could lead to mass action, e-hailing drivers appear resolved in their decision to begin a total boycott of Uber/Bolt apps by Monday next week.
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