Uber, Taxify drivers demand higher percentage split
Drivers from Uber and Taxify yesterday delivered a memorandum to their respective companies to demand they help ease the burden of rising fuel prices by either charging riders more, or taking a smaller percentage of total earnings.
The driver-partners took to the streets of Johannesburg in protest and barricaded roads near Zoo Lake leading in and out of the city, before moving onto the Uber offices in Bryanston.
Strikes are expected to continue today, although when ITWeb checked the app there were Ubers available and prices did not appear to be surging.
Both companies have confirmed they are aware of the demands made by drivers that make use of their platforms.
Gareth Taylor, Taxify South Africa country manager, says: "The South African petrol price has increased by more than 13% since January. These increases have had a detrimental impact on the businesses and earnings of drivers using the Taxify platform.
"Having engaged with Taxify driver-partners, and wanting to address their valid concerns, Taxify is responding to the impact the petrol price hike has had on them by adjusting some of the rates it charges riders who use the Taxify platform."
This means riders will be charged more. Previously, Taxify riders were charged between R6 and R7 per kilometre; this will be raised to a set amount of R7.50 per kilometre. The base fare of R5 remains unchanged, as does the minimum fare of R20.
"This small change to rider costs will have a major impact for the Taxify drivers, who will now on average earn 20% more than drivers using competitor platforms," says Taylor.
Taxify takes 15% commission from its drivers, while Uber takes 25%.
Uber has said it will not lower its commission fee, nor raise prices for riders, but instead offer driver rewards.
Alon Lits, Uber Sub-Saharan Africa GM, says: "Uber succeeds when our partners succeed. The 25% service fee is designed in a way to ensure the business is sustainable for both Uber and our driver-partners."
He clarified some points raised by drivers: "Prior to the recent fuel price increase earlier this month, we launched a temporary winter incentive to help reduce the impact of fuel increases. This is designed for driver-partners who do a certain amount of trips and is calculated based on information provided by drivers and fuel efficiency statistics of their vehicles.
"We understand that fuel is one of the biggest weekly expenses for drivers, which is why drivers can also access rewards that help them reduce costs and keep more of their earnings. This exclusive programme provides deals such as fuel rebates, cellphone deals, maintenance and healthcare."
He says prices will not be raised for riders to offset some of the costs because: "We've seen in cities across the world that lower fares mean greater demand, lower pickup times and more trips per hour."
Twitter user Segzy Gwinya said on the platform: "Trying to understand this Uber strike. Seems the drivers have an issue with Uber taking 25% and prices not increasing. Customers would obviously have an issue if prices went up. Personally, I don't think anyone should have 25% of your labour... so Uber should take the knock."
Another user, Mo, criticised Uber for not warning potential passengers about the strike: "@Uber_RSA it would be nice if you guys would just tell us when your drivers are on strike so we know to expect long waiting times and oh the inflated ride prices."