InDriver is a Russian ride-hailing company that expanded into Nigeria in August 2019. It has a presence in 200 cities across 25 countries including Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Like other ride-hailing companies, it has a mobile app through which customers and drivers can use its services. As at press time, the app has more than 50 million downloads and has more than 6,000 drivers signed up in Nigeria.
Ride-hailing has become integrated into our regular ways of moving from place to place. Where previously you would have joined a yellow bus or locate a taxi park, it is preferable to just book a ride using the ride-hailing apps that are now available.
Bolt has 20,000 drivers signed up on its platform while Uber has 10,000 drivers. This shows that more people are embracing this way of moving about.
One disadvantage of the regular taxi-hailing platforms, however, has always been not being able to negotiate prices or set your own price, especially in rush hours. Bolt and Uber have a preset way of offering fares to riders for their selected destination.
inDriver’s ride-hailing solution provides the same services as traditional ride-hailing apps but adds the flexibility of being able to suggest prices and trim fares to what is within your means. It also allows drivers to bargain and only go for rides that will be to their financial advantage.
How to use the app
After installing the app, it requires a simple set up process which involves inputting your phone number and name. Once the account is set up, you are ready to start requesting for rides.
Users can set the price for their trip from their end of the app, while the drivers can choose the most profitable and convenient orders. The app uses a Real-Time Deals model, according to the company, to negate the algorithms used by other ride-hailing companies including Uber and Bolt, which rack up prices because of peak hours, traffic and request history.
inDriver allows passengers to set their own fares for their chosen routes, while the drivers near to the user’s location who receive notice of ride requests would make one of three choices:
They can either accept the fare offered, ignore the offer or bargain for a more competitive price. The bargaining usually changes the offer by N200 or by as much as N400. In some rare cases, the addition or reduction can be more than N400.
Although you can set your own fare for the trip you want, the suggested price is rarely the price that the driver agrees to. According to Kwena David on the Playstore, the price that is suggested by the rider is not the same as what is recommended to the driver in some cases. He said, “Absurd that the initial fare one chooses is not recommended.”
Another user, Thelma, had good reports about the app. She used it at a rush hour and was able to get lower prices compared to what Bolt and Uber had to offer for the same destination. She said, “I use inDriver for all my trips now because I am able to save more on trips than I used to be able to do.”
The app has a simple interface, similar to that of Bolt and Uber. After launching the app, a simple page with an obvious map area opens up. The details that need to be entered include the destination details as well as price suggested.
The sidebar contains other options which allow you to view your request history as well as request rides to other places outside the city you are ordering from.
With the inter-city rides, inDriver allows you to book drivers ahead of the departure date to take you from one city to another. The pricing model is the same for both types of trips and you get to suggest the price you want to pay.
InDriver is different from Bolt and Uber in more ways than one. Besides the pricing model, the commission charged is much lower than what is charged by the competition. While inDriver charges an 8% commission on rides, Uber takes 25% off fares and Bolt charges 15%. This and the freedom to bargain and set fares ahead of trips mean that commuters will likely pay less if they book rides with inDriver.
Uber and Bolt give price estimates before the trip starts. However, the price is subject to the amount of time spent in traffic or at other stops and may increase beyond the initial estimate. This leaves drivers the difficult task of choosing between the low commission and relatively lower fare charged by inDriver or the high commission but even higher fare charged by its competition.
Another difference is that drivers can cancel rides on inDriver if they do not feel satisfied with the fare offered without fear of being sanctioned. This is one less protection than what the competition offers. The sanction given to drivers for cancelling trips they agreed to provides some assurance that people who book rides will not be kept waiting because the drivers cancel rides.
The bargaining model of inDriver makes it less structured than its competition. If you prefer to have the pricing decision taken out of your hands and just want to ride in style no matter the cost, then Uber and Bolt will do just fine. However, if you are like the majority of Nigerians that want to ride in style at the lowest price possible, then inDriver is the app to use.
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