uber lagos protest

Source: @Nwankpa_A via twitter

It seems Uber just cannot catch a break in Nigeria. It’s been brought to our attention that Uber drivers in Lagos are currently protesting in Ikoyi.

According to the drivers, Uber is making them pay for the recently concluded 50% promo. One driver says “I spent 50k on fuel last week and Uber paid me just 80k. I was supposed to get double that amount.” He was also unhappy with Uber’s flat rate of 25% on all trips. I’m curious as to why they are wearing masks but that’s for another post.

Uber riders in Lagos had been enjoying 50% off their ride fares for the past two weeks. The promotion ended on Sunday, November 13, amidst complaints by riders that there was a permanent surge.

A driver-partner has come out to refute the drivers’ claims and he tweeted evidence of full payment he received from Uber for last week’s rides. He says that “Uber is not shafting anybody.” 


On its part, Uber maintains that the cost of the 50% off promo was entirely borne by Uber. We contacted Uber for comments and Samantha Allenberg, who handles communications for Uber in Africa, said, “In our focus groups with driver-partners a suggestion that was often raised was for Uber to look at new ways to get new riders using the app for the first time – a 50% promotion campaign was table as a good idea to get new riders (who may be price sensitive) to use the app. The 50% off marketing promotion was entirely at the cost of Uber –driver-partners did not have to pay for this promotion. Should any driver-partner have any questions or concerns about this campaign, they are welcome to contact us via our support channels.”

Looks like its Lagos Uber drivers vs Uber right now. We’ll have to wait and see how this situation pans out.

Update: It has been brought to our notice that the driver-partner quoted above, Osi, is an Uber Nigeria Ambassador. However, we reached out to another Uber partner resident in Lagos who spoke with us on the condition of anonymity.

According to him, the first week of the ten-day promo was fine- drivers received full fare amounts while riders confirmed they also received discounts. But during the second week, Uber corrected calculations on the app to reflect the 50% fare reduction. In his words, “this is where the confusion started and I think it’s just a math problem.” He went on to give us a little breakdown to explain.

In one instance, his driver completed a trip from Ogba to Lekki. Typically, Uber charges a base fare of N400,  N90 per kilometre, and N90 per minute on trips. He said his driver paid a toll fee of N120 making the expected trip fare about N3450. There was also a surge of 1.6x on that day resulting in a final fare total of N5520 since Uber does not charge its 25% rate on surge prices. To his surprise, he received N2062.50 for the trip.

He reported that he visited Uber for explanations and was informed that the promo did not imply a multiplication in driver rates and that Uber would also relinquish their 25% rate during the promo period.

This is all very confusing and appears to be as a result of miscommunication on both sides. Please expect more updates as we receive them.

Mobisola Atolagbe Author

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