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Bolt, Uber drivers to embark on nationwide strike on Monday over ‘low fares’

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DRIVERS of e-hailing companies such as Uber and Bolt, on Saturday, said they would go off the roads on Monday except  cab fares were raised.

The e-cab operators, under the auspices of Professional E-hailing Drivers and Private Owners Association (PEDFA), threatened to embark on the strike if their demands were not met.

National Secretary of PEDPA Ajani Titilayo, who spoke with The ICIR, said the strike action by the drivers was overdue, noting that they were clamouring for an immediate upward review of e-cab fares to reflect the current economic realities in the country.

“The ridiculous fares being charged by the ride-hailing companies means that the services of our drivers are being de-valued, considering everything in the market has skyrocketed from the price of fuel to vehicles spare parts which has also increased,” she said.

Ajani said the current rate of N65 per kilometre was not reasonable for the drivers, stressing that it was the reason the drivers on the app were calling for an upward review to N100 per kilometre with a minimum fare of N1,000 for every ride placed on the app.

“You don’t expect an air-conditioned car in a good working condition, which is likely to be stuck in traffic,  to pick a passenger for N400 or N300. It’s very challenging,” she said.

The e-cab operators also demanded adequate insurance and welfare packages for drivers and compensation to the families of those that lost their lives or were permanently disabled in the line of duty.

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The association said that more than 15 drivers had lost their lives, while some had been permanently disabled in accidents in the course of the service.

More than 20 others had also lost their lives through kidnapping or killed by robbers without any compensation from the operators, the association revealed in a press statement.

According to an analysis by Nigerian tech site Technext, Bolt controls about 60 per cent share of the Nigerian ride-hailing market with around 20,000 drivers, which is more than double the number of its nearest rival, Uber.

Bolt’s popularity may simply be a result of its extraordinarily low prices. The app is far cheaper than Uber, whose fees remain out of reach for many Nigerians.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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