4 ways Uber and Bolt (Taxify) are giving Nigerians a bad deal


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

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An Uber or Taxify ride is a tranquil experience in the midst of traffic chaos. However you might be paying more than you should. Read more.

The phenomenon of ride hailing services accessed by phone Apps revolutionized Nigeria’s taxi system, especially in urban centers like Lagos and Port Harcourt. Taxify (now renamed Bolt) and Uber exemplify the best and the most popular of the service, catering to thousands across the country each day. However, recently it appears the romance is over as riders or passengers complain about the ways they are being short changed by the companies. Naijauto.com brings you 4 of the most talked about complaints:


Are Uber and Taxify (Bolt) riders in Nigeria getting their money's worth?

1. Longer routes than necessary

The ride hailing services frequently utilize circuitous routes to reach their destinations. A rider with a destination that can be reached in ten minutes could find him or herself 15 to 20 minutes later, even when there is little or no traffic. This naturally increases the charge on the ride.

Much ado has been made about the blame actually going to Google Maps, which sometimes seems to take the longer option to arrive at a situation. Others have opined that Uber does use Google Maps, but routes its trip in-house. The truth is actually a mix of both. Since 2016, Uber has spent at least $500m to build its own mapping system, and increasingly relies on this to route trips.

The best advice for passengers is to instruct your Uber or Taxify (now Bolt) driver on the best route. Of course that presupposes that the rider is knowledgeable about the area.   

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2. Using cars that are not in the best conditions

We’ve all seen the rider hailing services advertisements. Sleek, air conditioned cars sliding to a stop promptly to ick the passenger. Well, when it comes to real life, the fact is often a degree farther from the fiction. How many of us have had a less than “okay” car arrive in response to our request. The common denominator when this happens is of course the lack of air conditioning.

A rider can choose to cancel, complain, or rate the car and drive poorly. Chances are we glance at our watches, and make do, even if we are not too happy.  

When riders request an Uber or a Taxify (Bolt now), they are also requesting a certain class of service that in many instances contribute to an image they are trying to build. When the service does not meet up to it own advertisement, then something is seriously lacking.


Ride hailing services are also a symbol of status

3. Cancelling trips

Some passengers have observed that they were charged the 1,000 standard cancellation fee for a no show, when it was the driver that was absent on duty. Taxify has no cancellation surcharge so this would be applicable to Uber only.

Uber argues that the cancellation penalty only takes effect 10 minutes after the driver has arrived at the pick-up point, and there is still no sign of the rider. However customers have stated that they have experienced the opposite, where the driver defaulted but the passenger paid the price.


A prompt driver makes for a happy customer

4. Pricing surge

Price always seems to be on surge when you are requesting a ride. This is despite the many discount announcements by the services. Like the African proverb, passengers are of the opinion that what is being demonstrated is one hand giving, and the other taking- and usually a larger share. Many have hinted that perhaps there should be no discounts and no surges, and instead a standard rate all around, so everyone stays happy.

An instance of  the above scenario is where there is an announced 10% discount for a trip or period, and a surge of 1.2X for the same trip.

The taxi hailing services have assured customers consistently of fair pricing, good services, and fast delivery. It is hoped that the above rider concerns will also be addressed by more immediate policies.  

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Joshua-Philip Okeafor
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Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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