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November 16, 2018

Uber, Taxify drivers plan Tuesday strike to press for higher fare rates

An Online taxi operator sits atop his car during a strike in Nairobi on September 11, 2017. /ENOS TECHE
An Online taxi operator sits atop his car during a strike in Nairobi on September 11, 2017. /ENOS TECHE

A union of taxi operators has called of a strike next Tuesday claiming failure by ride-hailing apps managers to honour a memorandum of understanding.

The MoU defines how to deal with pricing and models, recognition of drivers representative by app managers, business partnerships, among others.

The Digital Taxi Forum Union's call over the July 11 MoU came barely two days after Taxify downplayed claims that its drivers are poorly paid.

Taxify chairperson Alex Mwaura said their drivers are earning more compared to the previous days.

"A driver earns at least Sh2,250 per day compared to the Sh1,250 they earned previously."

But the union secretary Wycliffe Alutalala told the press on Friday that "Uber and Taxify management still plays hide and seek games with them".

Their concern is that the situation exposes the drivers to poor working conditions and fatalities.

They have hence called for a sit-in at the Uber and Taxify offices from 6am to 5pm to press the management to address their plight.

"We also agreed with the app companies to renew the prices for the well-being of drivers," Alutalala said.

"We want them tell us how much drivers earn per kilometre."

Alutalala further urged the NTSA to hasten the implementation of the Traffic Act, 2012, that captures the interest of the online taxi industry.

He thanked Little cab and Mara Moja companies for complying with the MoU and urged the rest to follow suite.

Uber and Taxify have cited fear of losing clients as the reason for not increasing fare rates.

"Taxis are a luxury and luxuries come at a cost," Alutalala said citing increased cost of fuel as among their reasons for pushing for a fare review.

Last year in March, Uber taxi drivers went on strike demanding higher rates citing high cost of fuel.

The drivers marched to Parliament demanding fair operation and the revision of rates.

Also see: [VIDEO] Uber CEO argues with driver over pay rates in viral video

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