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Subsidy: Uber, Bolt drivers’ express reservations over safety of CNG

…Says estates, hotels prohibit CNG cars from entry

Following the increase in the pump price of Petroleum Motor Spirit also known as fuel, The Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers, (AUATWON), that operate with Uber and Bolt App are seeking for support from commercial bank for towards the conversion of their vehicles to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Recall that App based drivers had embarked on protest and strike to compel App companies to reduce their commission and increase base fare as well as charges per kilometer. The union claimed that the app companies have enriched themselves to the detriment of the drivers and demanded that the commission charged for their services be reduced by 50 per cent.

AUATWON national president, Comrade Adedamola Adeniran demanded that the companies increase the price of their services by 200 per cent and stop forthwith the unlawful deactivation of drivers as well as recognising the union and engaging in collective bargaining with it on a periodic basis.

But as several meetings organized between the drivers and Uber and Bolt were deadlocked. Helpless, the drivers are now opting to reduce costs by seeking to power their vehicles with CNG.

An Uber driver, Ngozi Mokobia who spoke with New National Star on Tuesday, said that he is seeking for a loan from a commercial bank for the conversion of his vehicle to CNG.

He said, “CNG is the only option we have since cost of fuel keeps increasing on daily basis. This business is no longer profitable with fuel because if I buy full tank with N35,000 I done make more than N45,000 at the end and if I remove daily charges, feeding and car maintenance money, then I go home with nothing. It is as bad as that.

“From the stories I have heard, CNG is very dangerous but right now, that is the only option I have to continue to stay in business”.

When asked if the banks are willing to support him with funds for the CNG conversion, he continued,

“The banks are as suspicious as we are on the safety of this new technology. However, they are demanding that we undertake a comprehensive insurance policy before they can render the support and that is also further depleting our resources.”

Also speaking, Gaius Egwakide an Uber driver expressed fear on the safety of the technology.

According to him, “A lot of accidents have been linked to this technology. I am still imagining what will happen if a car catches fire with CNG which is very volatile and highly inflammable.

“Moreover, my colleague who has already converted his vehicle is not allowed into some premises when he opens his booth and security operatives sight the cylinder. They see it as a security risk and prevent him from dropping passengers into some highbrow estates.

“Some passengers who also sight the device are also not in a hurry to engage his services”.

Meanwhile, efforts to get the reaction of Spokesperson of Federal Safety Commission (FRSC) Bisi Kazeem proved abortive as he was not able to pick his calls nor respond to WhatsApp messages.

See also Breaking: Glo avoids disconnection as NCC provides 21 days to negotiate agreement with MTN

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Written by News Desk

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