Members of the Professional E-hailing Drivers and Private Cars Association (PEPDA) who work for e-hailing companies such as Bolt and Uber have embarked on a one-week strike which commenced on Monday.
The drivers said this was necessary so the companies affected can address issues of physical assault on drivers among other things.
One of the drivers simply identified as Dipo told SaharaReporters that the drivers want a stop to the killing and meaningless assaults on drivers by riders (customers), hence the reason for the strike.
He alleged that every day of the week, drivers get assaulted, killed, or maimed by their clients.
According to him, the e-hailing services do not give a fair hearing to the drivers but rather block or suspend them upon customer’s complaint.
Dipo said the drivers want the companies to properly profile riders (clients) the same way they profile drivers so abusers won’t go scot-free.
He also called for fair hearing by the e-hailing services when a rider makes any complaint or allegation against drivers.
He said: “As drivers, our lives and properties should be very paramount to e-hailing companies and in all respect, I don’t think they value our lives because when incidents like this happen and we report such to the app companies, it gets ignored most of the time.
“I can tell you of two or three incidents that I know about. First, Tomi Waziri, a Bolt driver that got blind while driving Bolt. What happened was that thieves attacked the car, shot at his windscreen and the glass shattered into his eyes and got him blind.
“After all the complaints and shouting, what Bolt did was to go through their lawyers, they didn’t go to him directly, they didn’t visit his family, they called their lawyer to get in touch with him. They gave him N250, 000 through their lawyer. Up till now, his eyes are gone and there’s no other compensation apart from what they gave to him.
“There’s also someone in our group that had an incident, a rider stabbed him. Some of these things are happening, riders are usually responsible. For Olanrewaju, a Uber driver was stabbed by a rider. Up till now, I don’t think he was given the befitting compensation. He is out of the job right now. He is not driving any e-hailing cab right now.
“Another driver, his phone was stolen by the rider after the rider requested for a ride. There are a lot of incidents like that. For a driver to gain access to the Bolt and Uber platforms, you would upload some details about you so, we want our riders too to be profiled.
“We know a lot of things are not working well in the country but rider profiling will not cost them anything so that we will also know this is the person we are carrying and if we want to report, we will know the security outfit to report such rider too, in case incidents of robbery or others occur.
“That is what we are fighting for but to my greatest surprise, all that happened yesterday, no media company reported it. It was not trending on Twitter, no hashtag, nothing and there was a surge yesterday. There was a heavy surge yesterday and no one complained. A lot of people requested for rides yesterday but as we drivers are on strike, we declined the ride and also requested working drivers to join us in the strike.
“We are going to the stadium for our protest march. It’s a week strike. It started yesterday and will end next Monday.
“Before we registered, we were promised to be protected, it’s just shocking that when we started and these things started happening to us, nothing was done.
“All these things we are complaining of, we ought not to be complaining about them if the riders are being profiled. Every day, 20 to 30% of drivers get assaulted by riders so every one of us has a story to tell. If we complain to the ride-hailing company about that, they won’t even listen to us.
“There is a friend of mine, a rider, he was closing from work and he said he should take the last trip that would take him through a particular route. He got a request from the airport, called the rider who told him that he was going to a different location. He told the man he was sorry that he could not go in that direction. The next thing the man told him was he would report him and Bolt would block him.
“To our greatest surprise, the driver was blocked from the Bolt platform the following morning. We don’t get fair hearing, we are always scared of what the riders will tell Bolt. If you mistakenly make a wrong turn or something happens while on a trip, the next thing you’ll hear is they will report you to Bolt or Uber.
“Uber is even fairly considerate, they might call the driver to tell his side of the story but Bolt won’t do that. They will just block you or suspend you indefinitely. We are the ones working for them. 90% of each ride are being taken by Bolt and it’s bad that we get treated like this.”