Kenya: Section of Taxi Drivers Down Tools Over Pricing Row

Nairobi — A section of digital taxi operators in Nairobi have downed their tools in a bid to push for the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding signed July 2018.

The taxi operators involved in the strike include those working with taxi-hailing companies, Uber and Taxify.

"Yes some of us are striking but in my case I will still work as usual I need to get money to cater for my bills, the charges at this particular moment are however high," an Uber driver told Capital FM News.

The withdrawal of services by a section of operators led a significant increase in price due to an upsurge in demand for popular destinations.

In a statement on Sunday, Taxi Drivers and Partners Association of Kenya Secretary General Waweru Jamaicah said they want better operating terms that will help boost their businesses, and in addition want the online taxi companies regulated.

"We're sorry to inform you that you'll not enjoy taxi hailing services from 15th July 2019. All our Drivers and Partners members affiliated to Uber, Taxify and all other taxi APPS have issued a strike notice. Please plan accordingly to avoid any inconveniences," reads the statement.

The taxi drivers wrote to the Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia last Thursday, members of the Digital Taxi Forum (DTF) saying they will engage in a mass demonstration on July 15 over the failure to implement the 2018 MOU.

"We are sad to report that nothing substantial has come out of the MOU to date because the digital taxi app companies never honored the MOU citing diverse excuses for not honoring the same," reads the letter, that was also served to Nairobi County Government.

On July 11, 2018, drivers from the digital taxi apps drive composed of Uber, Little cab and Bolt formerly known as Taxify and the digital taxi drivers had agreed to review the pricing of trips upwards to promote their welfare.

Digital taxi hailing companies had last year agreed to sign the deal for better compensation to drivers through adjustments to both commissions charged on driver earnings and the customer charge per kilometer.

Digital taxi drivers had last year complained of unfair pricing that brought about competition with the digital taxi app drivers whose rates are favorable to most consumers.

The taxi drivers feel cheated with the digital firms appearing evasive and detached to the MOU.

"We will be holding and picketing peaceful demonstrations every day until our concerns are addressed, we will remain on strike until an agreement is reached that will be amicably acceptable by all parties and stakeholders involved," said DTF President John Kimani.

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