Uber has called for understanding from E-Hailing drivers who under the auspices of National Coalition of Ridesharing Professionals (NACORP), Monday, disrupted activities in Abuja, while protesting what they described as exploitation and extortion by the e-hailing companies.

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The group was calling for an immediate upward review of e-cab fares to reflect the current economic realities in the country.

The NACORP Deputy Coordinator, Administration, Fred Aleburu, who addressed journalists on behalf of the group on Monday, also called for the profiling of the riders, passengers for security purposes.

Aleburu said the apps companies had refused to review its fare as the companies continued to charge N300 for a trip despite the daunting economic situation in the country.

He accused the companies of being insensitive to their plight despite all the efforts to find a lasting solution to the problem.

However, Uber has swiftly reacted to the allegation as unfounded, claiming that it holds the welfare and security of its drivers in utmost priority.

Uber Nigeria Country Manager, Tope Akinwumi,who reacted to the allegations, said the e-hailing companies has taken several measures recently to address the issues the drivers are striking for.

According to him, “We are aware of a group of e-hailing drivers who have planned a three-day protest which started 30 May 2022 in Abuja. We take the concerns of drivers who operate on our platform seriously and are currently engaging directly using our various engagement channels to work towards addressing the issues. In March, we increased fares to help drivers with the spike in operating costs.

“Our commitment to drivers is to continuously find ways of maximising their earning potential while meeting the needs of the riders.

“The recent fare increase is to help drivers with the higher cost of fuel and other operating costs we’ve seen recently. With upfront pricing, riders and drivers will get a trip fare before booking their journey.

“In February this year Uber lowered its service fee from 25 percent to 20 percent to help enable better earning opportunities for drivers using the Uber App in Abuja and Lagos.

He said that drivers still have access to existing safety features such as 24/7 customer support and Share my Trip, insurance and other safety and support features.

This includes Rider Selfies for new cash riders without a valid credit card on file. The technology works by prompting riders to share a selfie before requesting their first cash trip. This new verification method will work alongside another rider verification method which confirms a rider’s identity by linking to their Facebook account.

During the protest, Aleburu had called on the government authorities to come to their aid by invoking relevant laws to regulate the activities and operations of the ride-hailing companies.

He wondered why the service providers were only interested in profiling only drivers and reluctant to request the valid means of identification of their passengers.

He vowed that they would cripple the operation of the companies for subjecting them to untold hardship and untimely death.

He said: “We have come together to organise this three-day warning strike because since the inception of Uber and Bolt in Nigeria they have refused to profile their riders. We have been on several protests and yet our drivers are dying. When passengers enter our vehicles, they kill the drivers and in the end, both Uber and Bolt will not have valid identity documents of so-called passengers.

“This is simple; let us share valid and equal identity with the riders so that when they perpetrate evil, we will be able to know who did what. Secondly, the fare has been reduced so much in this harsh economy and that is what we are facing right now.

“Uber and Bolt can give you a trip of N300 as drop-off when we are buying fuel at a very high rate and we are servicing our car at a high cost. There is no servicing of vehicle now that is less than N10, 000.”

However, Akinwunmi quickly retorted: “We will continue to monitor the situation, specifically the global market pressures closely and gather feedback from drivers and riders to inform future changes – we continuously engage directly with drivers using our various engagement channels to work towards addressing any issues”