From conversations with a lot of the drivers during a recent protest, it was obvious that a lot of them owed Uber no loyalty whatsoever.
The reason why you may not be hearing a lot about the whole Uber V Taxify debacle anymore is because the Uber driver strike that started on Monday, May 8, 2017, is no longer a thing. What that means is that it’s all back to “business as usual” as Uber said in a statement to Pulse Tech last week.
To recap (if for some reason you didn’t know what was going on), Taxify (Uber’s biggest competitor in Lagos) announced a reduction of its fare rates on May 3, 2017, Uber dropped its own fare rates as well — supposedly in response to Taxify — on May 4, 2017, and Uber drivers in Lagos went on strike and staged a very public protest shortly after on Monday, May 8, 2017.
From conversations with a lot of the drivers during that protest, it was obvious that a lot of them owed Uber no loyalty whatsoever. In fact, they felt Uber was not only taking unfair advantage of them, but that the US-based company was also insulting in the way it went about it.
On the same day the Uber drivers began their strike/protest, they also had meetings with Taxify management. At that meeting, the drivers laid down their terms — the same terms they had offered Uber — and promised to dump Uber for Estonia-based Taxify.
Taxify’s story in Lagos has not been as compelling as much as it has been a [sort of] headache for Uber. Apart from the fact that ‘Uche from Taxify’ can be pretty annoying, Taxify came into the market undercutting Uber on almost every ride-hailing metric. It accepted older cars, charged a lesser commission, and had lower rates.
Apparently, Taxify management was very receptive to the Uber drivers (even though a lot of them already drive on both platforms) and promised to look into the demands of the drivers. Barely 4 days later, Taxify announced an upward review of its prices, about a week after it reduced them.
At first, the ongoing suspicion was that the quick change in strategy was a direct response to the drivers demands. It may have been a bit underhanded, but Taxify wanted more drivers on its platform and if it had to confuse its users for a while to land them [especially if they were Uber drivers], it would do it. Still, there was no confirmation that this was the case.
Until May 16, 2017 when a source who used to be an Uber driver confirmed that Taxify’s quick upward review was a direct result of that meeting between Uber drivers and Taxify. “Na Taxify they pay the bills now o!” he said. “Plenty drivers don port go Taxify like this, no time. Make Uber dey carry their app dey go.”
He also confirmed that some of the Uber drivers who protested had gone back to using the platform. “People gats to chop, my brother,” the driver said. However, majority had abandoned Uber for Taxify since it had agreed to meet their demands. Other sources also re-confirmed this information, but they could not put a number to the amount of drivers that have left Uber for Taxify.
In the meantime, Uber is still sticking to its guns. It has not effected a price change to match Taxify [or undercut it], and it is not commenting on the surge pricing that has become a near-constant feature of the app since the strike/protest drama started.
Has Taxify won this battle? Or has it won the war? You tell me.