• Wed. Sep 21st, 2022

Online taxi drivers halt operations in Rivers

E-HAILING taxi drivers have halted operations in parts of Port Harcourt as they protest an alleged unhealthy working relationship with the email companies they drive for.

About 100 drivers lined the streets of Port Harcourt, Rivers state, on Monday to air their grievances. The taxi drivers, who carried placards with several inscriptions, marched through the streets of Port Harcourt and stopped at the premises of a popular radio station in the state.

The protesting drivers closed their call apps and parked their cars beside the east-west road.

According to some of the drivers, they operate under harsh conditions and are sometimes attacked and kidnapped by miscreants.

One of the drivers said: “The situation with these email platforms is very terrible in this state and we need a change. This is why many of us have come out to say that we have suffered enough from sexual harassment from women to drivers and vice versa.

“We have suffered from insecurity where thieves, after stealing people’s ATM cards, use them to book rides and we get robbed.

“We want these platforms to verify and profile runners. As much as we are partners, we are very important because without us there will be nothing like an e-hailing taxi service.

“We need fair treatment, we are partners and not slaves. If they don’t settle, we’ll go on an indefinite strike.

A female driver said: “Some passengers book and cancel and rebook as many times as possible. They cancel the ride; your activity score and percentage decrease at regular intervals. We are punished for the wrongs of the runners.

“Profiling is necessary in the sense that someone books a ride and when you call the person at the pick-up point, the person denies it. In some cases, people book rides, get caught, take the driver to another person who trades with and kidnaps the driver.

“We own our car, they don’t fix it for us, so they reduced the commission from 25% to at least 5%.”

According to the drivers, there is a need to increase the fares for trips from N12 to N15 per minute, among others.

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