Local Car News #Update!
Uber is an online transportation company founded in 2009 in the US. It revolutionized the transportation industry by introducing the e-hailing platform through the Uber app where people could order cabs that will pick them from their location and take them to their destination. Following the success of this innovation, various other e-hailing apps have emerged around the world. Currently, Uber is present in 66 countries and 449 cities around the world including Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria. Uber was launched in Lagos on July 23, 2014 and was evidently the first e-hailing app to launch in the commercial hub. After uber’s launch, in the regular habit of Nigerians other e-hailing platforms sprung forth. However, uber pretty much enjoyed supremacy and monopoly in the market as it provided better and unparalleled services in comparison to other platforms. This seeming monopoly was enjoyed for two years until November 2016 when taxify was launched in Lagos. Taxify came to prove that they were here to stay and will give Uber a run for their money. Taxify came with a considerably reduced price and a promise of better service and a surprisingly low 15% commission of Driver-partners’ earnings. This was a huge shock to Uber drivers as some of them ported to Taxify because Uber’s commission remained an unwavering 25%. However, this article will focus on the services and customer reviews of the rival e-hailing brands.
There have been mixed reviews regarding both Uber and taxify services. During the first year of Uber’s reign in Nigeria, it was appreciated and praised that most of its flaws were overlooked. Uber came as a welcome alternative to regular cabs and yellow cabs. It provided comfort and convenience as the cars were above average and equipped with working ACs, polite and well mannered individuals served as drivers. This was huge surprise to many people as they were used to rude, disoriented old men using rickety, no AC vehicles. Uber definitely had a target market of middle/upper class individuals whose cars had issues, were to lazy to drive or just wanted to spoil themselves hence they ordered uber. Many people gave positive reviews of the cab service. They were really impressed. After a while, uber reduced their service from luxury service (uber black) to regular service (uberx). Likewise, they reduced the minimum vehicle range for driver-partners from 2008 models to 2003. After the first year, it seemed like all the “rosiness” associated with uber was gone and the riders bagan to see with clear eyes.
From last year, there have been incessant complaints about the 1000 naira penalty fee deducted from riders after they or the drivers cancelled the trip: They complained that the drivers often refuse to go pick up the people after accepting their ride thereby leaving them stranded, hence they have to cancel the ride so they can get another one. However, there was a little plus to this as uber was very pro customer and responded to those who complained and eventually returned their money. People also complained of the incessant surges in prices, this was most likely due to the fact that there was a significant reduction in uber drivers as quite a number of them made a move to Taxify because of their driver friendly regulations. Likewise, Uber drivers had been accused of switching off their phones so as to create a scarcity of available drivers and even creating user accounts and requesting for cabs so as to create an increase in the demand for cabs and a scarcity of drivers the result being a surge in prices. All these and so much unknown reasons made Uber drivers resort to a strike action against the company in reaction to the unfavourable commision rates and even more unfavourable 40% slash in prices.
Since Taxify’s entry into Lagos there has been a strong rivalry between the two companies as they have been at each other’s tails trying to have a monopoly of the market. People started experimenting with Taxify and comparing the services of the two brands. Taxify has been praised for their seemingly low rates but has also been backlashed because of its app problems and complications with the card payment method. Likewise, Taxify drivers have been described as being rude and untrained but this is not reserved only for Taxify as some Uber riders have complained of rude drivers and dissatisfactory experiences during their rides. The main thing to note is that the smoothness of the ride is to a large extent dependent on the behaviour and character of the drivers. If a driver is polite and nice, the ride will be pleasurable, if the driver is honest you won’t get swindled. Its a simple logic, The companies don’t exactly have much control over the behaviour of the drivers as its not their car. However, Uber trains its drivers and does it’s best to be customer friendly yet Taxify is more driver friendly but usually do nott respond to customer complaints. Likewise, Uber values Customers driver ratings which could determine the number of rides the driver gets as no one wants to use a driver with low ratings. This helps to make the drivers more cautious of their behaviour as a customer’s rating can make or mar their business. Some people have also noted that Taxify drivers do not hassle customers for 5 star ratings like Uber drivers, but it is important to note the ratings for Uber drivers as it is ingrained in their system. This is a source of livelihood for these people and they try their best to safeguard it. Likewise, it is still dependent on the individual; some care, some don’t. So not all of them ask (hassle) for 5 star ratings.
It is generally accepted that humans are not perfect but there is probably a Nigerian factor in relation to the problem of rude and dishonest drivers, some people are far from professional and do not behave right. Likewise, there have been shocking examples of Uber drivers going to the extreme and even beating a passenger. The bottomline is really that the two companies have weaknesses and strengths and the “goodness” of a passengers ride is to a large extent dependent on the driver’s character as most drivers now are registered with both taxify and uber so they pretty much use the same drivers. The two companies are almost the same and there is not much difference, so use the one that resonates with you and pray you get a honest driver. For Uber users, it is important you run away whenever there is a surge or your pocket will bleed. If you don’t mind fine but if not run away. Don’t come and be searching for sympathy, you wont find any. Uber should try and make peace with its drivers so they don’t ruin the company with their antics. As for Taxify, they should fix their app and be more customer friendly as “the customer is always right” and there is no company if there are no customers. Generally Nigerians should appreciate this opportunity for organized income flow and embrace it instead of harassing people. The drivers should treat their customers right, if you cannot handle it, it’s not by force, go and do another work instead of being aggressive, rude and even violent to your passengers. Nobody can progress without good attitude to work. The hustle is real between these two e-hailing giants and we wonder how much longer the tussle will last or if one will accept defeat.