A new report by Premium Times where taxi drivers in Lagos are complaining about how Uber is killing their business provides a good example on how Internet provides growth and abundance, but yet left the players poorer. The drivers have a larger pool of potential customers, but yet, the value is not in the driving but in the aggregation which Uber provides.
Mr. Murphy, 43, explained that the activities of Uber drivers have been a source of sorrow for them as they no longer get patronage like they did in the past.
“If you notice, there are many taxis on ground here and their owners aren’t here. They’ve all gone home out of anger,” he said.
“Many of them have been here for hours without seeing any passenger; they had to go.”
Mr. Murphy, who claimed to have built a house from his taxi transport business, also lamented that the development has taken a toll on his responsibilities among family members and at the home front.
“These days, people I used to give N20,000 in the past would count themselves lucky if I give them N3,000.
“It has become so bad here in this park that in a whole week, it may not get to your turn to pick up passengers,” he said.
“That’s apart from the fact that we pay dues too. They tax us N200 daily and N1,000 weekly, despite the poor patronage.”
Uber as noted in this video is the aggregator, just as Google is to journalism. It operates and makes all the money. The taxi drivers are now delivery systems which get practically marginal value. You can also see this from the angle of Smiling Curves where Uber is at the edge making all the money while the taxi drivers are at the center for nothing. Both the Uber drivers and the traditional Lagos drivers are not going to be happy because Uber, through this abundance of more customers, is destroying the old value enjoyed by the traditional taxi drivers and yet is not efficiently (in money terms) transferring the value to their drivers. So every driver is unhappy. This means that, even in abundance, Internet does not always create value. It depends on where you are in the Smiling Curves. Watch the videos