In a surprising turn of events, hundreds of Bolt and Uber drivers in Edo State have decided to park their cars and halt their services for the third consecutive day. Their frustration stems from what they perceive as unfair treatment by their managers. Taking to the streets of Benin, the drivers carried eye-catching placards with messages like “fuel price is high” and “better deal: Bolt and Uber drivers demand better deal in Edo State,” causing significant traffic disruptions in the city center.
During a press conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Edo State council secretariat in Benin City, Chika Eric, one of the Bolt drivers, expressed their sentiments, declaring that they felt enslaved by the Bolt and Uber managers. In light of the current economic realities, Eric argued that Bolt and Uber should have demonstrated consideration for the drivers by reducing their commission from the standard 25 percent to a more reasonable 10 percent. This adjustment would have allowed the drivers to save more for themselves.
Eric further explained that due to the prevailing unfair conditions, the drivers collectively decided to suspend their services until eight specific conditions are met. These conditions include reducing the commission paid to Bolt and Uber to 10 percent, increasing the minimum fare to N1,000 for the shortest distance, putting an end to the unlawful deactivation of drivers, ensuring that every trip factors in traffic conditions and time, abolishing drivers’ scores entirely to allow them to choose their rides, compensating drivers with a minimum of N300 for far distance pick-ups, charging riders N500 for cancellations after the driver arrives at the pick-up location, and setting higher rates for airport pick-ups and drop-offs, similar to those in other states.
In response to the protesters, Mr. Festus Alenkhe, the chairman of NUJ Edo State council, commended them for their peaceful demonstration and encouraged them to formalize their complaints in writing. He suggested that they address their concerns to the Edo State House of Assembly, seeking a dialogue with the managers. Alenkhe also appealed to the federal and state governments to intervene and find a resolution, emphasizing the substantial contributions these drivers make to the nation’s economy.