inDrive drivers in Botswana face misconduct allegations

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Drivers who use inDrive are facing a flurry of accusations of misconduct in Botswana. The company says it is investigating the cases.

Drivers who use inDrive’s ride-hailing platform are facing misconduct allegations by passengers in Botswana. The allegations range from belligerent and uncouth behaviour to sexual harassment. inDrive told TechCabal that it is investigating some of the incidents and has blocked some drivers who were subjects of complaints.  TechCabal spoke to four passengers who had these experiences first-hand.

 27-year-old *Katso, who asked for anonymity for privacy reasons, told TechCabal that the first of her three bad experiences with inDrive started when she requested a ride costing P30, which the driver accepted. At her destination, Katso said the driver insisted that she pay P50 for the ride. “I told him that I would not do that because he agreed to the amount on the app. If he felt that was not sufficient, he could have simply not accepted the ride.”  Katso said the driver acted aggressively but eventually drove left.

According to Katso, in the other two incidents, the drivers were pleading with her to pay more, instead of forcing her. “They tell you that a lot of things are expensive in the country and they have no choice but to accept rides even if they feel the prices are too low. I don’t know if they say that to mean or just so that you won’t give them a bad rating on the app,” added Katso.

inDrive’s unique proposition is that it allows drivers and passengers to negotiate and agree on a fee instead of letting an algorithm decide. However, reports from passengers suggest that drivers often agree with them on a price and then ask them to pay more at their destination. 

According to another complaint heard by TechCabal but could not be corroborated, one incident involved a driver who physically assaulted a female passenger because she would not pay the amount agreed on the app. 

In yet another incident, 26-year-old Tapiwa said she requested an inDrive on a weekend night but was shocked when the car that showed up did not match the one on the app. It also had a male passenger. “The driver told me that the male passenger was for his safety as drivers sometimes get robbed by passengers. I told him that i would not get into a cab late at night with two men and he proceeded to be rude and told me to get another cab, which I did,” Tapiwa told TechCabal.

More incidents

On a thread on the social media platform X, one user shared a voice recording

of an irate driver upset that a passenger cancelled their ride. Another user shared that she has had a driver touching himself in a sexually suggestive manner during a ride while another shared that she was picked by a driver who looked debilitated, possibly off narcotics. Other cases shared by users include unroadworthy vehicles, drunk drivers and drivers who call passengers the next day using the numbers they provided on the app.

According to some of the passengers, some of the incidents happen with even high-rated drivers, making it difficult for them to be able to avoid such cases.

inDrive responds

TechCabal put the wide range of accusations to inDrive, to which the company responded that it was aware of some of the incidents and that it was conducting investigations to ascertain their accuracy and decide on the next steps.

“In response to recent concerns, inDrive wants to assure the public that we are actively addressing the reported incidents,” the company said in an emailed response to techCabal.” We are aware of several such complaints and have promptly blocked the accounts of those drivers in question until further investigation.”

The company also encouraged passengers to report all cases of drivers’ so it can take the necessary steps to prevent further issues. However, for Tapiwa, the frequency of the incidents has made her stop using the service altogether unless she absolutely has to.

“I don’t think I’m going to use [inDrive] anytime soon. Maybe if I had an emergency or something, but probably not. I would rather use a cab recommended by someone I know,” she added.

Despite having blown up in popularity in the country over the last few months, inDrive has also faced a fair amount of issues in its operations in Botswana, where it is the only ride-hailing company available. Last month, the country’s kombi and taxi association asked the transport regulator to ban the service, citing concerns that it was operating without the requisite licensing.

*Name has been changed for anonymity.

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