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Ride-hailing service fares rise in Nigeria

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Fuel subsidy removal has led to a surge in the price of many products.

Following the Nigerian government’s decision to remove the petrol subsidy, much uproar has been witnessed and a surge in the cost of many products. Users of ride-hailing apps are also experiencing additional financial strain as a result of the increasing cost of transportation that follows the subsidy withdrawal. Uber and Bolt, which are the two famous ride-hailing companies that have made transportation easier, are also not exempted as the petrol hike leads to an increase in charges which will likely make it difficult for many people to afford their services.

According to a survey conducted by BusinessDay, Bolt riders have experienced a significant price increase. This has caused many people to reevaluate their transportation choices, with some opting for less expensive modes of transportation like public transit or carpooling. The research revealed that while fares are supposedly lower on other ride-hailing platforms, including Uber, Rida, InDriver, and LagRide, many users are having trouble securing trips using these apps. However, this past November, both Uber and Bolt announced price rises for trips on their platforms due to rising living expenses.

Users voice their concerns over the ride service price hike.

As regards people’s reaction to this price hike, some users complained that the hike is influenced by the driver as the company is yet to adjust its pricing to suit their expectations. A Twitter user by the name Maazi Ezeoke said ‘In Abuja, using Bolt to the Airport was between N5,100 to N6,000.” When he ordered the ride, the app still showed N5,100; however, he said the driver refused to go for that amount, telling him not to mind the amount stated on the ride-hailing app..

On the other hand, Raheem Babasule took to his Twitter page to show his grievance over the experience he also had with a driver. He tweeted that “Dear Uber and Bolt drivers if you know you can’t work with the price written on the app don’t accept trips because what’s all this rubbish, booked a ride it was N3,500 on the app when I saw the man he said hope you know it’s N20k”. While others are also showing their concern about the hike, many individuals who can not afford it are already diversifying their transit means.

A feasible solution is been worked on to alleviate the situation.

More so, the country manager of Uber Nigeria, Tope Akinwumi stated in a note that Drivers are at the centre of all they do, and they are presently analyzing the issue and obtaining information from drivers and riders to influence future improvements; as soon as they understand the situation, they will provide an update. They are cognizant that the announcement of the recent fuel price hikes and the withdrawal of fuel subsidies is having an effect on drivers who use their platform, and they are currently conducting an extensive inquiry into this matter.

Being a global company with local offices, it must keep tabs on local conditions to determine when and how to adapt to them. According to Akinwunmi, the company wants to make sure the Uber app continues to be a place where drivers can make a living income while also giving customers transport satisfaction. However, drivers for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Bolt have organized under the banner of the Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria to demand a price hike due to the subsequent rise in fuel prices.

Drivers’ unions call for a full review of prices.

The national administrative council of the union has voiced its concern over the large increase in fuel costs and the negative impact it will have on the revenues and profitability of the union’s members as a result of the increase. It proposed an increase in pricing of 200 percent, a decrease in commissions, and a subsidy for riders as a means of mitigating the negative consequences of the subsidy removed. As the pressure from app-based transport workers increased, the union encouraged the ride-hailing companies to respond to their demands promptly.

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