Uber; The online taxi hailing business in Nigeria has been successful but it has also been characterised by tussles with factors such as regulators, customers, the climate and other corollary challenges plaguing it.
Hitherto the most interesting stakeholder in all this has been the driver. When they got wind of the “Uber opportunity”, they embraced the financial revolution and redemption it gave them but with that innovation came competition by Taxify and Oga taxi.
The market started to thin out and that greatly affected revenue. Drivers went on rampage with various ignoble vices, tantamount to destructive tendencies in a bid to still make their margin at the expense of customers. From creating artificial surge to blatantly refusing Card trips and now falsifying trip fares going by a rider’s complaints on twitter and a report by QZ.
The app they use to falsify the fare is called “LOCKITO”. The app allows one make or follow a fake itinerary with their phone; with total control over the speed and GPS signal accuracy. With the app, one can also simulate a static location. Originally, the LOCKITO app was “made” as a must-have tool for Android developers who need to test geofencing-based apps or just test their app on different locations. However, Uber drivers have started using the app to rip riders off.
In this farrago of mischief, the wail is of biblical proportions. A good friend of mine was charged N9000 from Victoria Island to Maryland; a journey that would normally cost N1,500 thousand Naira is charged at N3000.
This is destroying the business model and Uber should take the following steps:
- Encourage riders to check the estimated fare prior to trip and challenge any arbitrary pricing.
- Punish defaulting drivers.
- Give refunds and send due apologies to clients affected.
- Upgrade the application to counteract the lockito app.
- Reverse or at least review the percentage split which the drivers admit is responsible for their erratic behaviour.
I think If this is quickly done, it would ameliorate the challenge Uber is currently facing and discourage mischief among the drivers.