Taxi hailing drivers protest poor rates

Taxi hailing drivers protest poor rates

Taxi drivers working for hailing companies have once again downed their tools protesting poor pay from various services.

Drivers drawn from Little, Uber, Taxify, MondoRide among others have taken exception to the vicious competition in the industry that has seen the base fare drop over the past two years.

Digital Taxi Association Chairman David Muteru on Monday said the latest strike is to push for fair pricing in the industry and better terms from taxi hailing companies.

“Recently there has been a price war are which has made this work untenable. When these guys entered the market it was Ksh60 per kilometer and Ksh4 per minute, today it’s only Ksh16 per kilometer and Ksh2 per minute,” Mr Muteru said.

The strike saw a huge price surge for rides through the day with only few drivers on the roads.

The more than five hundred drivers converged at Uhuru Park vowing to push for better terms.

Apart from the poor pricing, the drivers also accused the taxi hailing companies of employing unfair practices to control drivers operating the apps.

“After 12 hours they switch off your app for the day, claiming that you are overworking. Now how will you do that if you are not making any money?” asked Samuel Muiruri, an Uber driver in Nairobi.

The protesting drivers and other stakeholders are now calling for better laws to govern taxi hailing services in the country.

Carol Okul, a taxi driver and partner knows this too well.

“As much as it is a free market economy, parliament should come up with policies that will regulate these companies. It’s really difficult, when fuel is over Ksh100 and they are paying us Ksh16 per kilometer. We need regulations in this particular sector that will look into this sector,” Ms Okul said.

Some drivers who were caught operating during the strike were harassed by the protesting colleagues who forcefully removed them together with their clients from their vehicles.

Police in Nairobi were forced to use teargas to disperse the group when they became rowdy.

Mr Muteru said the strike would go on for the rest of the week or until taxi hailing firms come to the negotiating table.

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Story By Dennis Otieno
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