Nigerian Lives: 4 Drivers Tell Us What It’s Like Driving in Lagos

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With over 500,000 monthly users in total on both platforms, Uber and Bolt are the leading car-hailing services in Nigeria. . Like several companies all over the country, Nigeria’s car-hailing businesses have an obligation to fulfil clients’ needs, encourage drivers, and remain advanced and competitive. Uber and Bolt drivers also have a duty to satisfy customers and ensure their safety. However, they also sometimes experience mistreatment by the company, or issues like clients refusing to pay after a trip has been completed. For this episode of Nigerian lives, we have reached out to 4 drivers to share their driving experience in Nigeria.

James, 39 (Uber driver)

For me, Uber is the best so far. They maintain their app and try to update it every time. There are times you are required to upgrade your phones to accommodate the app upgrade. It’s good and I like it, but not everyone has the luxury of upgrading their devices every time. Uber is also security conscious, though there is room for improvement. When riders complain, they react without hearing our side of the story. They send an email but sometimes they have already taken an action, or they place your app on hold. I think they are working on that. 

I once had an issue when a client reported me to Uber. After  a trip, he made two online transactions. Normally, transfer is not an option for Uber but it was my customer’s preferred mode of payment. The first one didn’t go through but I received the second one. He said I should refund him when I receive the first payment,. I agreed. Uber drivers have wallets so you can see how much you have. In the morning, I noticed money was deducted and I received an email that a rider complained of making two payments. When I sent an email expressing my displeasure, they refunded my money back. 

Somto, 40 (Uber driver)

I enjoy riding with Uber because it is the best riding platform. Unlike other riding platforms, they listen to both parties when you have issues with a rider, the fare is okay, and they have friendly customer service who treat us with respect. It’s also the best in terms of security. I once had a situation with a rider. After the trip, the money he gave me was a counterfeit so I requested he change it, or I won’t take the money. He proceeded to insult me. After much arguing, he changed the money and poured water on me. I reported the incident to Uber and they called and apologized on behalf of the customer. They also compensated me. I think the rider was blocked. 

Nzube, 37 (Bolt driver)

The customer service with Bolt is poor. The way they relate to us is appalling. We are in a country where the law doesn’t work, so there is no way you can fight for your right. The last time I went there, I had to disrupt the place. Bolt blocked me because a customer reported me and they didn’t call me to hear my side of the story. I was driving a customer who had marijuana, and the police stopped us and arrested him. He reported me to Bolt and accused me of conniving with the police. When I got to their office, I asked them why they didn’t notify me. I eventually got my account back.

Ojo, 35 (Bolt driver)

Bolt has both positive and negative sides. On the negative side, we see frequent fake alerts from customers or customers refusing to pay at the end of the trip. There is also the issue of the map giving inaccurate directions. On the positive side, you make money daily and you can drive whenever you choose to. By the end of the week, you have earned enough to sort your bills.

*This article is based on real-life events. The names used are mere pseudonyms to protect the identities of the individuals mentioned in the article.

Nigerian Lives is a Culture Custodian weekly series where we hear from Nigerians who share tidbits about their experiences. It goes up every Monday.

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