inDrive, the California-headquartered ride-hailing app, which launched in Botswana in 2019, has introduced a 10% commission charge for drivers in Botswana, effective from February 28. The introduction coincides with the launch of Bolt in the country on the same day, setting the ground for an interesting ride-hailing battle. 

According to the company, introducing the commission charge forms part of a strategy to make further investments in Botswana, which inDrive describes as a “top priority market”. 

“After operating without commissions for five years, this aligns with our strategic goals to provide fair urban mobility access to more customers in Botswana,” said Vincent Lilane, business development representative, at inDrive in Southern Africa. 

Since inDrive’s launch in Botswana in February 2019, drivers have been operating it commission-free.

Drivers who spoke to TechCabal differed on the introduction of the commission fee. One driver, who has been using the service for almost two years, stated that the commission was not an issue as they knew about it beforehand. “They are a business too, so it makes sense for them to want to make money,” the driver said. 

However, another driver said it was unfair for inDrive to start charging commissions before addressing some issues drivers had earlier communicated. 

“inDrive has to put a minimum on what riders can offer for rides,” he said. “Some of these rides are so cheap, and we only accept them because of desperation.” 

inDrive’s model allows riders to set a price for a ride which a driver can accept or refuse.

Since launching in Botswana five years ago, the service has had mixed fortunes. Although it has grown in popularity as an alternative to public transport, it has also faced allegations of driver misconduct and has encountered pushback from local public transport operators who accuse them of taking away their business.

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