Their operations and the perception that they had come to destroy the taxi driver industry created enmity between taxi drivers and taxi drivers. It was so bad that some taxi drivers who did not fully understand the work of their counterparts would not even allow them to park their cars near taxi ranks, thinking they would compete with them for passengers.
However, years later it appears that even though taxi drivers are not making as much money as before the market was infiltrated by ridesharing companies, they are doing better now than their ridesharing counterparts. .
In conversations with several VTC drivers, they admitted that they had indeed destroyed the taxi driving business to a large extent, but it only paid off in the beginning when there was competition fierce between VTC companies and that they treated their drivers well. .
According to them, Bolt now owns a bigger share of the space and other ridesharing companies are struggling to survive, so he has become complacent and does not prioritize the welfare of drivers.
“It’s true that we ruined the business of taxi drivers. Can you imagine I picked someone from Gbawoe in Accra to Dodowa and the fare was only GHC54 but if it was a taxi the driver might charge between GHC150 and GHC200. Now taxi drivers make more money than us,” Emmanuel, a Bolt pilot said.
There are currently several ride sharing companies operating in Ghana apart from Bolt, Uber and Yango which are the most popular. However, just like MTN and other telecom companies, Bolt has more voice carriers (passengers) frequenting its services than others because they have managed to win the hearts of Ghanaians.
It should be noted that the greatest asset of ridesharing companies is the passengers who frequent their services. This means that although there are other options, disgruntled drivers cannot give up on Bolt as it is currently the preferred choice of the majority of Ghanaians. Drivers have to drive megaphones to earn money, so they will be caught out if they switch from Bolt to other companies that don’t have passengers.
“Bolt now gives discounts to passengers rather than drivers, so it is difficult for other ridesharing companies to earn them. The more passengers they have, the more control they have over the market and the drivers,” Emmanuel added.
Uber was once the market leader, but lost its loyal riders to Bolt, which offered better discounts and implemented better business strategies. It is now struggling to regain its lost glory by reducing the commission charged to its drivers from 25% to 20%, but do they have passengers for the drivers they lure with the discounts?
Bolt, on the other hand, places more importance on retaining and winning over more passengers than drivers because they know that once they retain their passengers, drivers, despite all the complaints, won’t will go nowhere.
According to the drivers, the commission they have to pay Bolt is too high, which is compounded by high fuel prices before they sell to their car owners.
They explained that when they earn 400 GHC per day, Bolt takes 120 GHC, the car owner takes 70 GHC and if the fuel costs are deducted from the rest, they have nothing more to say.
Simon, another Bolt pilot lamented: “Right now, the taxi business is much better than carpooling.. If you work and get GHC400, Bolt takes GHC120, before selling to the owner of the car, and fuel prices are also high and constantly rising.”
Meanwhile, from taxi drivers, they say it serves rideshare drivers well because they rushed into a new business without thinking about its future.
Unlike taxi drivers, whatever money a taxi driver earns after the day’s work, all he does is pay his driver and take care of the fuel costs and the rest is his .
Vincent, a young man who uses his private 2021 Toyota Yaris car as a taxi instead of carpooling, said it was a business decision. According to him, he realized that carpooling is worthless compared to driving a taxi.
He explained that he charges his passengers whatever amount he deems appropriate for a particular distance, but ridesharing apps decide the rate of their drivers based on demand and sometimes they waste a lot of time.
“I just flew a passenger from Ashaiman to Nungua and before returning I did GHC120 this morning. You can imagine how much I would earn at the end of the day,” Vincent said.
It is instructive to note that taxi drivers in rural areas where ride sharing has not yet arrived have not been affected in any way. Also, like in all businesses, taxi drivers sometimes have bad days.