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Revving Up: Can SA’s E-Hailing Solve Driver Financial Woes?

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Vusi Melane
Vusi Melane
Staff Writer

Thousands of South Africans have turned to e-hailing to earn a living, but rising costs are squeezing their profits. Petrol prices have reportedly soared by 119% over the past four years, while car repayments have also increased due to the rising repo rate. For many drivers, this translates to a daily struggle to make ends meet. This is according to Business Development Representative for inDrive South Africa, Vincent Lilane.

“These expenses are further compounded by car maintenance and mandatory insurance costs,” points out Lilane

Below minimum wage earnings

He continues, “The cumulative effect places a heavy burden on drivers. Worse still, those working for e-hailing companies with high commissions are left with a meagre share of the fare. As a result, many are earning below minimum wage.”

“This is a concern for inDrive,” says Lilane

“By keeping our commission rate at between 9% and 10%, drivers earn around R6,637 per week –312% above the national average. In contrast, drivers for a competitor that charges a 25% commission only take home around R4,730 weekly.”

Rewards programme to aid drivers

“While 85% of drivers rely on incentives and bonuses to supplement their income, some e-hailers are cutting back on these programmes to reduce business costs and improve their own financial performance. inDrive, however, is taking a different approach,” he shares “The company has recently launched a new rewards programme aimed at supporting top-performing drivers through increased earnings and additional benefits – something we feel is critical amidst the economic challenges they face.” he adds

Since May 1, 2024, drivers in Johannesburg and Pretoria have been participating in a program that rewards those who meet or exceed weekly personalized ride targets with monthly prizes, ranging from smartphones and smart TVs to cash and fuel vouchers. Each month, an exceptional driver is awarded a new car in recognition of their performance and commitment.

“By providing tangible rewards and incentives, we hope to motivate and assist drivers, ensuring they feel valued and appreciated for their hard work.” highlights Lilane
Collaborations needed

He concludes by saying, “South Africa’s e-hailing industry is expected to reach a market size of US$1,881.776 million by 2027, with the driver workforce expanding by 10% annually. But creating a sustainable future for all stakeholders in the e-hailing ecosystem requires collaboration between drivers, e-hailing platforms, and policymakers. Together, we must find solutions that address rising costs, ensure fair compensation, and prioritise driver well-being. This will not only benefit drivers but also ensure the continued growth and success of this sector, with knock-on effects for the broader South African economy.”

The inDrive rewards programme will run until 31 July 2024.

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