Customers of ride hailing apps Uber and Taxify in Kenya have been left frustrated by an ongoing strike of the companies’ drivers who are protesting the companies’ low rates and high commissions that they say force them to work long hours for little money.
An association representing 2,000 drivers for Uber, Taxify are leading a week long app switch-off protest, and have taken on legal services to demand that the technology companies are reclassified as transportation services.
The drivers say the fares that are charged to customers have consistently reduced as competition in the ride hailing business has soared.
While an average ride with Uber, Taxify and others currently costs about $1.50, the drivers say the cost per kilometer as computed by the tech companies is significantly lower than the costs of running a car in Kenya.
As a result, many drivers have to work long hours in order to survive the cut-throat conditions.
The drivers through their association, Digital Taxi Forum want Uber and Co to double their rates and reduce their commissions so they can earn decent wages.
Uber currently charges a 25 percent commission on each ride, while apps like Taxify and Little Car charge 15 percent.
They also want the government to designate the ride-hailing companies as transport companies and not technology companies as is the case currently.
Europe’s highest court made a similar ruling in December after a protracted battle, declaring that Uber was a transportation company and qualified as a taxi service.
Classifying the digital taxi services as a transport company in Kenya would bring them under the control of the National Transport and Safety Authority with more stringent licensing requirements.
Uber and Taxify have been reassuring their clients on social media who have been charged for cancelled trips during the strike and those who are generally uinhappy with their services.
‘‘Uber is currently reviewing everything that impacts driver-partner earnings. In the meantime Uber will continue to have the earnings guarantee to support driver-partner fare earnings until the review is complete,’‘ Uber said on their Twitter account.
— mwangi (mw_mwangi) July 2, 2018
uber_Kenyaa small group? Is still a group of unhappy partners. Respect them and resolve issues they raised
We are always available to help driver-partners and there are a number of ways driver-partners can let us know if they have any individual concerns. Our teams are working hard everyday to find even more ways for driver-partners on Uber to thrive. [2/2]— Uber Kenya (@uber_kenya) July 3, 2018
Hello Judy, we can always review a charge. Kindly DM us the email address and mobile number linked to your account in addition to the trip details(date, driver-partner name), so that we can take a look and assist.— Uber Kenya (@uber_kenya) 3 juillet 2018
Sort your mess with drivers first before printing us nonsense,clean your house first and both riders and driver will be happy,who will want to ride with a distressed driver— Wanjala Lucas (@WanjalaLucas) July 3, 2018
Can confirm. Using— dilek genc (@kierachay) July 3, 2018
Uberand Taxify_ke in Nairobi is an absolute pain rn. I have drivers calling for extra compensation, 9 minute wait times that turn into 30 mins, and anecdotes of working drivers bring harassed by striking drivers.