STRIKE

Digital Taxi drivers go on strike, demand higher rates

In Summary

• The digital taxi operators say the Uber apps should start  charging immediately the request is made, not when the client gets to the car.

Suzuki Altos used as Uber Chap Chaps
Suzuki Altos used as Uber Chap Chaps
Image: COURTESY

Digital taxi operators have on Monday downed their tools in demand for higher rates because of low profits.

Passengers trying to access the service found the message "0 hours online and 0 trip".

The drivers accuse  US-based Uber and Estonian software firm Taxify for coming up with various price changes without proper consultation with the driver's representation, the Kenya Digital taxi association.

 

Uber driver James Kimani tells the star in a phone interview that they use a lot of fuel to get to their clients only for the rides to earn them very little.

"At times we wish we knew the cost of the journey in order to have the option of cancelling it but we do not. We spend up to Sh150 on fuel for a ride that costs Sh200."

Kimani said  Uber and Bolt apps should start charging immediately the request is made, not when the client gets to the car.

Bolt Driver Philip Otieno said the Foreign dominant app companies should reduce its percentage [earning].

"We also want Uber to reduce its percentage [earning]."

The driver said the service keeps 25 per cent of what they make but that everyone involved would make money if this declined to 10 per cent.

Chairman of the  Digital Taxi Forum says they will remain on strike until an agreement, that will be favourable to all stakeholders, is reached.

 
 

“We have no other recourse than to begin our indefinite strike from July 15. We will be picketing and holding peaceful demonstrations daily until our concerns are addressed,”  Kimani said.

He said the drivers are offended that the dominant companies have been in engaging in price wars, much to the detriment of the drivers and third party vehicle owners who are never consulted whenever the changes are made.

The drivers say this has led to all-time low fares that have reduced their earnings to an unsustainable level.

They are calling on the government intervention in the decision making .