By Tony Ofungi
December 28, 2018 – Uber Uganda has announced the introduction of injury protection for their clients. This was posted in a memo to all their drivers this month.
“We’re excited to announce a further commitment to rider and driver partner protection in Uganda by rolling out Injury Protection provided by UAP Old Mutual for added peace of mind when using Uber,” the statement reads.
Injury protection will apply to all uberX and uberBODA rides and at no additional cost. All driver-partners will benefit from this innovative cover from the moment they accept a trip, while driving to pick up a rider, and until the trip ends. Riders will be covered from the time their ride begins, until the trip ends.
In the unfortunate event of an accident or a crime-related incident resulting in an injury during a trip, riders and driver-partners will have access to medical coverage, including death and funeral expenses, a lump-sum payment to descendants, and permanent disability payments.
Daily payment benefit for drivers (injury) indicate if a driver is hospitalized for more than 48 hours as a result of an accident that happened on-trip and are thereafter unable to drive because of those injuries, will receive a daily payment for up to 30 days on doctor’s certification.
“Injury Protection in Uganda has been tailored specifically for those on the road, and builds on Uber’s existing security structure while ensuring a safer ride during every journey booked through the Uber app. This is just part of our ongoing efforts to support drivers and riders on the road, and we will continue to do our best to provide them with more peace of mind going forward,” the statement adds.
This comes as a holiday gift to the taxi industry specifically Boda bodas (bike taxis) which account for over 80 percent of accidents and fatalities as a result of road accidents crippling the health sector.
Bike taxis are popular with tourists for their ease to snake through city traffic and for convenience. However, many have fallen victim from reckless riders through accidents and criminal elements who have been known to lead unsuspecting victims to wrong destinations only to rob or even rape them or worse.
Uber’s move piles pressure on its main competitor Taxify and other players in the industry who will now be expected to match the move. The main losers are likely to be the unregulated Boda-boda industry which largely thrives on political patronage. They are less competitive pricewise and infiltrated by criminal elements. Many are illiterate and averse to tech-savvy drivers and riders as well as apps which they consider too complex to comprehend as they continue to remain hostile to app-hailing services and Credit card options.