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“Smart” Ghanaian drivers find cunning ways to shortchange Uber on its 25% charge

Uber won’t budge on charging drivers 25% on all trips, so the drivers found ways to pay Uber less

Uber may be facing a litany of legal (and moral) issues outside Ghana, but the non-transportation company is about to face a new slew of issues in the West African country.

The technology has been in Ghana for less than a year and as expected, taxi unions have started complaining to the government about the unfair advantage the company poses in the industry.

https://www.facebook.com/PulseGhana/videos/969340333164185/?hc_ref=SEARCH

Uber, on the other hand, has been very responsive to dealing with the issues as they arise as Alon Lits, the Sub Saharan Manager told me at an editor’s forum last week at their Green Light Hub in Accra.

But taxi drivers are the probably the least of Uber’s problems in Ghana right now.

One of their major hurdles they would have cross as they clock a year in Ghana would have to be the arrival of cheaper alternatives.

Earlier in 2017, Taxify.eu, a European alternative to Uber, tried to launch in Ghana, but couldn’t do so for whatever reasons, however, some other competitors have arisen where Taxify failed.

Notably among these competitor is Uru, which offers slightly cheaper rates for riders and even takes only 10% on earnings by drivers as opposed to the 25% by Uber.

In my interviews with Uber Driver Partners in Ghana, many of them have decried the 25% charge by Uber but are skeptical to move to Uru, as they don’t believe the platform has many users as yet.

However, they have found “smarter” and “cunning” ways to outwit Uber.

On two occasions, I have hailed an Uber and have been forced to pay what the estimated fare shows even without starting my ride.

One Thursday night after closing late from the office, I hailed an Uber to the Labadi Beach Hotel.

Upon arrival, my driver asked me what the estimated charge shown was, right after telling him what was shown on my screen, the driver started the trip, drove in my direction for about 2 minutes and ended the trip.

For a while, I was thinking he was about to tell me to get down from this car, but he was quick to remind me that he will take me to my destination all the same, and I would still pay him the amount earlier shown by Uber.

After questioning him on why he would take such an action, he explained that, for my trip which was originally GHS23.00, Uber would have taken 25%, which would have “ripped” him of GHS5.75 if he had run the whole trip through Uber.

However, by ending the trip and making me pay the lowest fare of just GHS5, Uber would make only GHS1.25 off the GHS23.00 trip thus saving him GHS4.5 that would have otherwise gone to Uber.

But I had questions, what happens if the trip takes an unusually longer time than predicted.

They were many factors in Ghana that could contribute to the actual trip costing more than Uber had estimated — there could be a bad traffic situation on the road for one.

But the driver was aware of the risk and he just coyly replied, “that’s just the risk I have to take”, as he took me through the problems he faced on the Uber platform.

And this was not an isolated instance.

My colleague and friend Kwame Boakye, who had earlier expressed disbelief when I told him my story, faced the same situation on Tuesday night with his Uber ride.

https://www.facebook.com/kboakye92/posts/1575112499166583

It made sense, the drivers were not happy with Uber charging such a high percentile on every ride, Uber wouldn’t budge to their demands so they found a smart way to make sure they pay the least charges to Uber.

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