Drivers are going on strike in Abuja, here's why
There have been several reports, recently, of driver's starting trips without picking riders, and refusing to pick their calls.
According to media reports, the Abuja Partner Forum has been trying to work on some issues that have been affecting both drivers and partners in the city.
Gbenro Ogundipe, an Uber Partner in Abuja, reportedly said there have been reports of riders robbing drivers, rides being improperly documented (so drivers earn lessers that they are due), amongst others.
Based on this, the Forum reportedly sent a couple of mails to Uber, and those mails were responded to by Uber's South African branch. Obviously, the SA guys have almost no idea what is going on, and could only offer little or no help.
Eventually, the mails to Uber started to bounce (I've noticed this in the past few weeks), and the Forum had to contact Uber via chat on the company's main site.
A meeting was later held in June between the Forum and the Uber management team, and some pain points were raised. An agreement was put in place that the team would meet with the partners each month to come up with solutions - which have not been dealt with since June.
TechCabal reports that the partners reached out to Uber again three weeks ago, requesting a meeting. The report says they had the following demands:
- Rider identity verification through valid and matching credit/debit cards, due to security concerns.
- Detailed explanation of completion rate calculation, and the inclusion of completion rates in app/dashboard.
- Increased rider education through the app.
- Requirements for destinations to be entered by riders before they can make requests, so the rider is clear on fare estimate before the trip.
- Penalties for long waits after driver arrival at the pickup location.
- Increase in per minute rates to N30/min.
- Base fare increase to N300 (from N220).
- Airport fare increase to N4000 (from N3000) and the inclusion of N400 toll.
- Removal of peak hour conditions for high flier incentives.
- Rounding up of fares to the nearest N50.
- 24-hour limit to rider rating the driver.
- Clearer procedures for reporting and resolving issues
The partners were asked to fill a form - over 150 people, according to the TechCabal report - and Uber is yet to respond since then.
That is why Uber partners and drivers in Abuja have decided to take the matter into their own hands. From today, requests to or from the airport will not be granted.
The partners, in a mail informing Uber of the strike, said, “The economic changes we are experiencing has made some trips quite unprofitable, if not impracticable. The evident nonchalant attitude to our request is seen as further worsening an already difficult business situation for Partners. It re-emphasizes the perception that this is not a partnership.
"We have looked at our operations and decided to begin to trim off the inefficient trips. Partners have decided that starting Monday 31st October 2016, trips to and from the airport will not be completed.”
Before launching in Abuja, Uber's initial presence in Nigeria started from Lagos - and it has had some problems there too.
There have been several reports, recently, of driver's starting trips without picking riders, and refusing to pick their calls. Apparently, this has happened several times. And those are just the ones we know of.
With Uber's recent troubles with the Nigerian government (road safety officials have been impounding Uber cars), Uber will need to address these issues before they get worse.
The company already has a firm footing in Nigeria and enjoys good patronage. It would be a shame to lose all that market share to negligence.
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