Uber promises incentives to offset fuel price increases as drivers strike

03 July 2018 - 17:23 By Ernest Mabuza
Uber said it was committed to ensuring that it remained a meaningful earning opportunity for its drivers.
Uber said it was committed to ensuring that it remained a meaningful earning opportunity for its drivers.
Image: Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Uber said on Tuesday it had introduced incentives to cover the cost of the most recent petrol increases for June and July.

The comment came after the company received a memorandum from a number of its “driver-partners”‚ who had embarked on a strike to demand that Uber increase its fees.

The operators drove from Zoo Lake to the Uber offices in Kramerville‚ Johannesburg‚ to demand that all prices charged by Uber must increase‚ with a base fare of R50.

The operators also demanded that they should get a bigger share from their profit-sharing agreement with the company. In specific terms‚ the striking operators demanded that Uber reduce the 25 percent share it deducted from every operator's trip. The operators described Uber's share as “theft” in their memorandum‚ and demanded that this should be reduced to 15 percent.

In response to the protest‚ Uber said it was committed to doing as much as possible to ensure that Uber remained a meaningful earning opportunity for its partners.

“Understandably‚ partners are concerned about their earnings given the consecutive petrol price increases which have increased their cost of doing business‚” Uber Sub-Saharan Africa GM Alon Lits said.

“As a result‚ we introduced a fuel top up to drivers (two weeks ago) to cover the cost of the most recent petrol price increases (June and now July)‚” he said.

Uber said hourly guarantees were instituted to increase partner earnings given lower demand during the winter period.

In terms of the guarantees‚ during certain hours of the day‚ Uber would ensure that the driver’s fare earnings were at least the guaranteed amount and‚ if not‚ Uber would cover the difference.

Uber said it was also conducting a full review of all variables which impacted partner earnings.

“We will use all this information to make the right long-term decision together with our partners. We will continue to offer incentives until this review is complete.”

However‚ one of the spokespersons for the protestors‚ Vhatuka Mbelengwa‚ said the earnings guarantees should have been applied to cover all periods of the day.

He also said the drivers were not aware of the "fuel top ups" that were being mentioned by Uber as this was not communicated to them.


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