Less than four months since Uber opened shop in Kampala, Uber drivers are reportedly leaving the service, switching off their Uber apps and today have started a strike due to low fares and reducing incentives. The drivers are no longer picking calls from clients until management resolves their issues, according to sources, Uber management has agreed to meet them on Monday 31st October to listen to their grievances. For now, the drivers have vowed not to resume to drive for the taxi hailing service till further notice.
When they company initially rolled out their service in Kampala, drivers were offered incentives that saw them earn between UGX 200,000 and UGX 350,000 weekly.
A few months down the road, Uber has been reducing the driver’s incentives due to overwhelming competition in the transportation business in Uganda from boda bodas, Friendship taxi and the regular taxis. According to a one Uber driver who preferred anonymity; he confirmed that indeed, the incentives where reduces from UGX 10,000 per hour down to UGX 10,000 and now UGX 4,000 in a span of only fourth months.
The drivers also claim, that have to dig into their pockets to pay for the fuel and maintenance costs, unlike other drivers that work for the competition like Friendship taxi.
While speaking to TheEastAfrican last week, Nate Anderson, the general manager for Uber, said “Uber has considered the costs that are incurred by their drivers and found that everyone can comfortably make some money. ” Mr Anderson said that while the profit margins on Uber fares are smaller, there are many more trips, which sees the drivers make more after totaling all their trips.