Nigerian drivers to ditch Uber and Bolt, set to partner with local e-hailing companies

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Comrade Idris Shonuga
Comrade Idris Shonuga PEPDA

Ride-hailing drivers have signed a new partnership deal with two indigenous competitors of Bolt and Uber who, they claim, will provide better working terms and conditions for them.

The National President of the  Professional E-Hailing Drivers and Private Owners Association (PEDPA), Comrade Idris Shonuga, confirmed to TechNext that the association signed the deal to henceforth work with Active Rides and My Cab, both indigenous ride-hailing companies.

According to Shonuga, the new deal will see the drivers ditch Uber and Bolt completely. They will make their vehicles and driving skills exclusively available to Active Rides and My Cab.

Comrade Idris Shonuga
Comrade Idris Shonuga PEPDA

For the past 3 months, e-hailing riders under different associations have called upon Uber and Bolt to increase the fare for rides booked on their respective apps. According to the drivers, the current e-hailing prices do not reflect the true economic reality of the country.

On April 19, the riders embarked on a week-long strike, during which trip fares doubled because of the unavailability of drivers. Both Uber and Bolt lost an estimated N100 million in revenue according to projections by TechNext.

Higher fares and lower commission will favour drivers but more riders are needed

“We have 15,000 e-hailing riders in Lagos State alone,” Shonuga told this reporter during a phone chat. He added that when the numbers of members who work with Bolt and Uber in Oyo, Abuja and other states are added, the number comes to 27,000.

Bolt has about 13,000 drivers in Lagos while Uber has about 9,000. With 15,000 of Lagos State’s e-hailing drivers already part of Shonuga’s PEDPA, the association’s partnership can become formidable if a majority of the drivers boycott Uber and Bolt completely.

The boycotting alone is not enough, however. There has to be a significant uptake in the number of Nigerians who use Active Rides and MyKab to book rides.

As of June 9, Active Rides has less than 600 downloads while MyKab Driver has more than 5,000 downloads on the PlayStore. The version of MyKab for riders has less than 2,000 downloads. Combined, the two apps have about 6,000 drivers who are registered with them and only about 3,000 riders who have the apps installed.

Although the number of Nigerian drivers who have downloaded Uber and Bolt cannot be deciphered from the available Playstore data, there are about 20,000 registered Bolt drivers in the country while Uber has about 10,000 registered drivers.

The terms of the new partnership clarify that both indigenous companies will charge a lesser commission than what their Bolt and Uber counterparts charge. Instead of 20% commission, drivers will now pay only 15% of the fare. Out of the 15%, 5% will be set aside in a driver’s cooperative wallet that can be accessed if there is an emergency.

In spite of the reduced commission, if the number of users for both apps does not increase significantly, the drivers might make even lesser than they do on Uber or Bolt. The other concern is that the prices charged by foreign companies are lower than they should be. So passengers will be reluctant to hop on to the local platform where they have to pay more.

Higher fares on Active Rides and MyKab will favour riders, but it may drive more customers to Uber and Bolt if they charge lower for trips.


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