In a plea laden with urgency, ride-hailing drivers in Nigeria have come together, beseeching app-based transport giants like Uber, Bolt, Lagride, Indriver, and others, to swiftly reevaluate their pricing structures with an upward revision of a staggering 200%, while simultaneously establishing a minimum trip fare of N2,000.
Representing a united front on Friday, these drivers, operating under the banner of the Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON), voiced their profound apprehensions about the far-reaching consequences resulting from the recent fuel price surge and its detrimental impact on their livelihoods. The national president of the union, the esteemed Mr. Adedamola Adeniran, passionately emphasized in a statement that the exorbitant fuel prices have cast a cloud of hardship upon their earnings and patronage, thereby necessitating an imperative 200% price hike across all platforms.
Adediran further elucidated that unlike their independent cab-driving counterparts, branded taxi drivers, or even bus drivers, the app-based drivers lack the autonomy to unilaterally increase fares. Consequently, he implored the concerned companies to exercise restraint in deactivating any drivers as a consequence of the fuel subsidy removal, urging them to acknowledge the challenges faced by these drivers in such tumultuous times.
To their credit, the drivers have also exhibited empathy towards the riders who shall bear the brunt of this increment, entreating the ride-hailing enterprises to introduce a 5% subsidy mechanism to alleviate the impact of the impending escalation on their esteemed clientele.
Commission Reduction Demands: App Companies Challenged to Reconsider Charges
Additionally, apart from their call for fare increases, the drivers are unequivocally demanding a reduction in the exorbitant commission levied by industry titans such as Bolt, Uber, and their counterparts. Adeniran ardently conveyed in the statement:
"The app companies ought to promptly revise their commission structure to a modest flat rate of 10%, or alternatively, slash their commission by 50%, all while eschewing any surreptitious charges. It is imperative that these app companies subsidize trip fares for riders by a minimum of 5% to cushion the adverse consequences of the impending fare hikes, utilizing the surplus garnered from homogenous commission reserves."
Echoing these sentiments, Mr. Jossy Olawale, the Chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee of the union, impassioned an immediate response and action from the app companies, urging them to be receptive to the union's collective pleas.
Fuel Price Surge Triggers Transportation Sector Turmoil
In light of President Bola Tinubu's declaration on May 29th that the fuel subsidy had been eradicated, numerous fuel stations have swiftly adjusted their prices. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has subsequently announced price modifications to reflect the market dynamics bereft of government subsidy. Consequently, fuel is now retailing between N448 to N550 per liter across the nation, causing a ripple effect across various sectors of the economy. Nevertheless, the transportation sector has been the first to bear the brunt, leading to an instantaneous surge in transport fares, precipitating this impassioned plea from the ride-hailing drivers.
As the union strives to exert its influence, it encourages its members to pursue their peaceful endeavors while employing every lawful and profitable means to conduct their business until further directives are issued by the union.