Ride-hailing firms keep emerging in Nigeria, each with its own app and web-based transport services tailored towards passengers’ needs.
No doubt, their emergence has made life easier for commuters in terms of ease, affordability and comfort.
Furthermore, ride-hailing firms serve as employers of labor as they give individuals the opportunity to earn a living, based on commission, from driving.
One would however think that for a business as lucrative as this, measures would be taken to safeguard, not only the lives of passengers but that of the drivers as well. But alas, this doesn’t seem to be the case as crimes against ride-share drivers are grossly underreported and left unattended.
There have been several cases of e-hailing drivers in Nigeria getting robbed, injured and killed in the course of their rides with little or nothing is done to protect them or bring the perpetrators to book.
For the drivers, it is a big security risk not having the full details of riders other than their names and phone numbers (no verifiable means of identification) while they themselves are forced to follow due process.
These ride-hailing companies rarely answer to the e-hailing drivers’ distress calls and for the drivers to protect themselves, they resort to declining requests and close for the day when it is getting dark to avoid being attacked.
Another issue is that there is no form of insurance cover for e-hailing drivers in cases of theft, accident and death.
The likely solution
It is imperative that safety steps and preventive security measures be put in place to checkmate crimes against ride-hailing drivers.
Ride-hailing companies can start by profiling riders with valid means of identification.
Other security measures that can be adopted would be going beyond the trip-sharing feature to develop more effective apps like the ones in other countries that can match a picture to a face and detect long stops. Cameras can also be fitted into cars to capture key incidences.
Finally, databases are important in tracing dubious riders but despite the fact that names and numbers of these riders are the only information being documented, exploring this will prove difficult.
What could then be done is liaising with developers to create a centralized database that will match the data with riders in-app before they are accepted for a ride.
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