Cynthia, who lives in Ojodu and works at Alausa, Ikeja, had been taking a lot of cab rides to and fro work due to Coronavirus scare. As a germophobe, she feared that taking the regular yellow buses might increase her chances of contracting the virus. But here’s the problem – she often found it difficult getting an Uber driver on time.
You too may have noticed that it is now much harder to find/book an Uber ride. The time it takes to find an Uber driver has always been longer than the time it takes to find a Bolt driver. But now, that time is much longer. Why is this happening?
Why it is getting harder to find Uber drivers
The simple reason it is becoming a lot more difficult to find Uber drivers in most parts of Lagos is because more Lagosians now prefer to use Uber’s main competitor, Bolt. Let’s explain this – there are three major players in the Nigerian cab-hailing industry and these are: Uber, Bolt, and newest entrant inDriver. But even though Uber was the first mover, Bolt has managed to displace it, thanks to the latter’s cheaper ride fare and higher percentage to drivers. In other words, Bolt found a practical way to appeal to both the drivers and the riders, a situation that has resulted in riders and drivers preferring to use Bolt.
Interestingly, many of the drivers who work for Uber also work for Bolt and inDriver. However, the platform a driver ends up working on in a day depends on which one he/she switches on… and leaves on. Now, because there are more customers wanting to use Bolt because it is cheaper, the drivers switch on their Bolt apps and accept requests. And with more drivers working on Bolt, the implication is that customers booking rides on Bolt will end up finding drivers faster, unlike those booking rides on Uber. A cab driver who we will identify simply as Anthony, better explained the situation to Nairabrands thus:
“Uber is struggling to retain customers because their fare rides are higher. And I understand why their fare rides are higher because they offer more premium service compared to Bolt. Uber will not allow any driver that does not pass its test. The company will not accept certain cars that does not meet standard. So, it tries to maintain a certain standard. And as you know, premium service is expensive.
“Bolt on the other hand is cheaper and to use for the customers and customers want cheap things. So, they flood that platform, even though they often experience unpleasant circumstances during rides. I will suggest that Uber should reduce the percentage they collect from driver per ride and probably find a way to also reduce ride fares. That’s the only way to compete with Bolt in Lagos. If not, the way Bolt is going aggressively, it might just take over the market from Uber completely… I work on both Uber and Bolt. But I can assure you tat I focus more on Bolt because it guarantees more of faster income.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: We tried to reach out to both Uber and Bolt for comments but all to no avail.