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June 20, 2018

Online Taxi drivers table 12 new demands as strike enters day 3

Uber drivers on strike on Tuesday. The strike entered the third day yesterday with only a few drivers operating. /ENOS TECHE
Uber drivers on strike on Tuesday. The strike entered the third day yesterday with only a few drivers operating. /ENOS TECHE

Digital taxi drivers have unveiled 12 new demands to be met by their respective service providers even as they boycotted work for the third day in a row.

The demands have been outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding by the Digital Taxi Association of Kenya which is seeking an efficient working environment.

“We will present this Memorandum of Understanding to all the digital taxi service providers in the course of this week. If they all agree to sign, then we can call off the strike and chat the way forward,” the association’s chairman David Muteru told the Star.

While at that, some of the drivers confirmed that they are still loyal to their course until the demands are met by the online taxi firms. They intend to remain offline throughout, they said.

The firm stand on the strike comes a day after Uber issued a warning to de-activate accounts of drivers involved in violent protests.

Among the fresh demands is a plea by the drivers for all stakeholders to develop guidelines that will be used in regulating the industry market and competition practices in order to prevent abuse of market position.

In addition to the demand for a reduction of the 25 per cent commission by the service providers to a maximum of 15 per cent, they now want upfront charges on consumers scrapped off.

“Upfront charges should be discontinued for the riders where route changes apply since drivers are not accurately compensated as per actual route taken, and secondly on trips paid via credit card since the fare deductions are done as soon as trip commences not considering route changes, traffic or alternative destinations. The clients suffer loss as a result,” the MOU said in part. Still on pricing, the drives demand that a taxi industry advisory board be formed by the Ministry of Transport to review and agree on minimum and maximum pricing.

For fares paid through M-pesa, the drivers are pleading that withdrawal charges be borne by the rider as well as parking fees where such fees have not been captured in the final ride report by the service providers.

Institutions to be considered in the process of determining the market price include the Automobile Association of Kenya, DTAK, other taxi operators and any other relevant authority under the chairmanship of the National Transport and Safety Authority.

On security issues, the drivers want digital app owners to collect and store detailed documentation in cases of a driver, and detailed app registration requirement in cases of a rider enrolling on the platform.

Aimed at ensuring data security, the data capture will reflect legal identification as captured by government data agencies. “Phone numbers used by clients should be registered and verified accordingly. In cases of need by security agencies and/or authorities, the data should be made available when need arises,” it adds.

They also want their operation hours be in tandem with those set by the NTSA, in addition to taking at least one continuous week paid vacation after every six months.

As per their demands, the digital service providers are urged to provide personal health insurance and security coverage provision for their drivers with relevant costs shared between digital app owners and drivers/partners. Other demands include a mandatory review by existing and incoming foreign app owners by the Ministry of Transport in order to review operating mandates locally, for purposes of protection and safeguarding interests of partners/owners who will be operating in such platforms.

Review of deactivation laws of a driver from the digital taxi app, submission of quarterly report by the service providers that indicate data on operations for purpose of audit to ensure compliance of set regulations, and formation of a committee to settle disputes arising in connection with the Memorandum of Understanding are among the other demands.


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