The rising cost of transportation following the removal of petrol subsidy is adding more pain to users of ride-hailing apps, BusinessDay findings have revealed.
In Africa’s biggest economy, Uber and Bolt are two popular ride-hailing firms that have made transportation easier, with safe and comfortable transportation, but the surge in petrol prices and the attendant increase in fares look set to make their services out of reach of many.
A survey by BusinessDay showed Bolt riders have seen a significant increase in prices, a development that has left many individuals reconsidering their commuting options, with some resorting to public transport or carpooling as more cost-effective alternatives.
“My Bolt fee for Shomolu to GRA has increased from N1,700 to N6,000,” Anita Okonji, a Twitter user, tweeted.
For Babatunde Akintunde, he was to take Bolt on Thursday from Ogudu to Ikoyi and the ride-hailing app showed it would cost N17,300.
“This is not right. Even if we are aware of the rise in fuel costs, an increase in ride fares of more than 100 percent is absurd. I had to use Danfo to get to the Island, and I spent N1,000,” Akintunde.
Tosin Olaseinde, founder of Money Africa, tweeted that she spent N8,000 to Lekki from Yaba when she used a ride-hailing app.
“I attempted to use Bolt, the ride-hailing service, but the cost forced me to join the majority in seeking alternative options,” a Bolt user told BusinessDay.
Findings showed that while charges are said to be a bit lower on other ride-hailing platforms such as Uber, Rida, InDriver, and LagRide, getting available rides on these apps has become difficult for many riders.
In November last year, both Uber and Bolt announced price increments on trips on their platforms, citing high costs of living.
“Drivers are at the heart of everything we do and we are currently reviewing the situation, and gathering feedback from drivers and riders to inform future changes. Once we understand the implications, we will share an update,” Tope Akinwumi, country manager, Uber Nigeria, said in a note to BusinessDay.
“We are aware that the news of the recent fuel hikes and fuel subsidy removal is affecting drivers on our platform and we are taking an in-depth look into this.
“As a global business that operates locally, we are constantly monitoring local dynamics to see what changes can be implemented and when. We are keen to ensure that the Uber app remains a platform where drivers can earn sustainably and provide a reliable mobility option for riders,” Akinwunmi said.
Read also: Commuters lament as transporters hike fares
Drivers on ride-hailing apps under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria have demanded a fare increase from ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Bolt following the removal of petrol subsidy that led to price increase.
The union’s national administrative council expressed concern over the significant rise in fuel prices and its detrimental impact on the earnings and profitability of its members.
It called for a 200 percent upward review of prices, a reduction in commissions, and a subsidy for riders to alleviate the effects of the subsidy removal. The union urged the ride-hailing companies to respond promptly to their demands as pressure from app-based transport workers mounted.