BY Benjamin Alade and Gloria Nwafor
28 August 2020 | 3:08 am
As Lagos State Government begins profiling of electronic hailing (e-hailing) drivers, and unionisation in the sector, Professional E-Hailing Drivers and Private-Owners Association (PEDPA), has said the newly-reviewed laws would guarantee the security of drivers and riders and check harassment by officials while on duty.
The group, which welcomed the development, also expressed its readiness to partner with the government for smooth business operations and security of its members.
National President, PEDPA, Idris Shonuga, during a news conference to introduce the union as the umbrella body of all the e-hailing drivers and lease partners, urged app companies that were yet to register with the Lagos State Government to do so for a secured business environment.
Shonuga pledged to give priority to the welfare of members, whom he claimed, had suffered so much in the hands of app companies, like Uber and Bolt, over poor welfare packages and unfair treatment.
“We are aware that Uber and Bolt have always exploited and taken undue advantage of drivers on several instances like charging a colossal commission, and fixing ridiculous fares against our drivers’ wishes. But we are more than ready to resist Uber and Bolt’s unrepentant dictatorial habit in a bid to shift their responsibility to our members for the purpose of inflicting more pain and financial burden on them.”
He opined that before the union came on board, drivers were at the mercy of the app companies, taking humongous commissions from the drivers, and dictating the price of services being provided on their platforms.
Furthermore, app companies continued to slash fares for services even when inflation had risen by about 300 per cent, with attendant increases in the prices of spare parts, fuel, and general goods.
Shonuga, therefore, said, “PEDPA is using this opportunity to request all e-hailing drivers’ community to begin taking action, and use the 90 days window to acquire all driver-related documents with the exemption of providing driver’s badge, which is the responsibility of app-hailing companies on behalf of drivers on their platform.”
He noted that with the reduction in prices, drivers could no longer maintain their businesses, let alone save for the future, adding that globally, it is a standing rule that whoever is rendering service should be the one to fix the price of the goods and services.
He revealed how the union defended its members amid negotiations during a review of the law for a secured and profitable e-hailing transportation sub-sector in the state.
To avoid price slashing and unjustified blocking of drivers by the app companies, PEDPA urged all app companies operating in Nigeria to show responsibility and form a synergy with the union.
Legal adviser to the union, Tunji Abdulramin, said with the new policy, the state government would also benefit while a secured operating environment is guaranteed for the drivers.