Uber drivers plan strike over low fares

Uber drivers plan strike over low fares

U.S based taxi hailing service Uber will face its first true test on Tuesday after a section of its drivers vowed to down their tools.

This comes after the firm announced a 35 percent fare cut last week on the back of mounting competition from other hailing services.

The drivers feel aggrieved that they were not consulted before the price cut was announced arguing the move would negatively impact their income. This is despite assurance from Uber of an insurance package if they fail to secure passengers.

The drivers on Monday held a daylong meeting at Karura Forest threatening to take to the streets on Tuesday demanding dialogue with Uber management.

According to the Kenya Taxi Digital Association interim chairman Emanuel Kasina, Uber failed to constructively engage drivers and partners calling for a structured way to dialogue with stakeholders.

“They reduced what is going into our pockets but didn’t reduce what is going into their pockets. Today we have made a resolve that Uber needs to listen to us and they cannot any business decision without consulting us. We need rules of engagement,” Mr Kasina said.

Passengers using the service on Monday were faced with price surges as most drivers kept away from the roads.

Last week Uber country Manager Nate Anderson said drivers would earn a guarantee of between Sh500 and Sh450 for every peak and off-peak hour respectively that they fail to get ride requests.

Since coming to the market in 2015, Uber has had relative success, signing up more than 3,000 drivers. The unexpected popularity of the service even saw the firm freeze recruitment for new drivers to allow those in the system to make higher earnings.

Uber’s new price structure sees it charge customers Sh35 per kilometer down from Sh60. The charge per minute also dropped to Sh1 per minute which saw the shortest ride charged Sh200.

In July, Safaricom and Craft Silicon launched Little Cab which Sh55 per kilometer and Sh4 per minute with no flat base charge. Mondo Ride charges similar fares but with a base fare of Sh100.

Additional Reporting by Mumbi Warui


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