Uber driver partners in Kenya on strike demanding higher rates

A number of Uber Nairobi driver partners are on a strike demanding for higher rates so as they earn from their services like their metered counterparts who charge nearly triple Uber prices in Nairobi.

The driver partners want Uber to start charging passengers the moment a cab is hailed as they use their fuel looking for the passengers. They also want Uber to reduce its commissions per ride from 25 percent of the ride to 10 percent.

Just recently, Uber driver partners were barred from ferrying passengers to and from the airport by the Kenya Airports Authority pending review by the Competition Authority of Kenya.

July last year, Uber Kenya announced a 35% price cut to cut off competition after serving over one million trips since its launch in Nairobi in January 2015.

The old UberX fares were KES 100 base, KES 60 per KM, KES 4 per minute, KES 300 minimum, KES 200 cancellation while the new uberX fares after Price Cut: KES 100 base, KES 35 per KM, KES 3 per minute, KES 200 minimum, KES 200 cancellation.

During the price cut Nate Anderson, Uber’s General Manager in Kenya said, “Our experience shows us we can make that happen while making Uber the best way for drivers to earn. This also means riders can ditch their car keys and travel with Uber more often. For some it will make Uber cheaper than owning a car. This means fewer cars on the road, less traffic, and fewer issues trying to find parking.”

Anderson at the time said the firm was ready to reassess the price change if the driver partners don’t make much on the road but a few months later announced that the drivers were seeing a 70 percent increase in rides.

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”Our driver partners are now getting over 70% more trips per day – but working less hours. We continue to have over 100,000 unique people opening our app every single month looking for a safe new ride,” said Anderson in November. “We are continuously watching and reviewing the effects of the price cut and we are thrilled that the results show that the price cut is working.”

Even James, a driver-partner using the Uber platform noted the difference “I am all for price reductions and it is really working for me. I wait less in between trips and therefore earn more every hour. Uber had a good intention in reducing prices. Following the price cut announcement, I do two times the normal number of trips I normally do on a Monday.”

However, things might have changed along the way and with the recent increase in fuel prices by nearly Ksh 5, local driver partners might have started feeling the pinch.

The Kenyan Uber Driver Partners strike follows a similar strike by both Uber India and Ola Cabs India last week claiming they were not making any money on their rides. Over to you Uber!

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