Gauteng Uber drivers protest Trip Radar feature and more

  • Drivers for Uber and Bolt have embarked on a protest today after their pleas were ignored by the ride-hailing firm.
  • One of the biggest problems for drivers is Uber’s Trip Radar, which forces drivers to compete for rides and distracts them.
  • The protest could extend beyond Monday according to the e-Hailing Partners Council.

When booking a ride using Uber, the app will showcase nearby drivers to give you an idea of how long it will take for your request to be accepted. While convenient for users, for drivers the feature is a curse.

So much so that today, 16th October, ride-sharing app drivers in Gauteng are downing tools in protest. This protest comes as a result of disdain towards Uber’s Trip Radar feature. This feature was launched locally in July 2022 and gives drivers insights into how many other drivers are looking at a trip on offer.

While Uber says Trip Radar aims to reduce the wait time for riders, drivers aren’t keen on the feature. Drivers say that Trip Radar takes their attention off of the road and creates needless competition in an already overburdened ecosystem.

Despite raising this issue with Uber, non-profit organisation, e-Hailing Partners Council’s (EPC) says drivers were ignored.

“The most unfortunate part is that both their [Uber and Bolt] responses are nothing but hot air in which they are reversing these things we have said we don’t want. Instead they are justifying them and are saying the likes of Trip Radar, upfront and dynamic pricing, unprofitable prices, lack of right to hearing, no right representation, Bajaj cars, Dekra persecution, poor passenger screening etc are good for us the way they are,” reads a statement published last week.

The mention of the Bajaj Qute is notable as Bolt recently began offering hugely discounted rides in the tiny vehicle locally. This effectively puts those driving sedans at a disadvantage as riders are more likely to choose a ride in a Qute over a more expensive ride in a sedan.

With all of this context, it’s understandable why Uber and Bolt drivers have downed tools today. This means Gauteng riders may find it hard to get a ride and if they do, it could end up costing them a lot more money given that surge pricing has been implemented owing to fewer drivers on the road.

The protest could extend beyond Monday and EPC says that InDrive drivers should form part of the protest action as well. In a post to X on Saturday, the EPC said it would be picketing at 29 Bond Street in Randburg as well as 12 Charles Crescent in Kramerville.

For Gauteng residents who depend on Uber, Bolt and InDrive, we recommend making alternative arrangements for the week, just in case the protest pushes beyond Monday.


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