A good number of Nairobi driver partners using Uber, Taxify, Little and Mondo Ride apps have downed their tools indefinite calling for a hike in prices from their respective affiliate firms known to be lowering prices every month to stay competitive but at the detriment of driver revenues.

In a move to increase rides and bolster driver partner revenues, both Uber, Taxify, Little and Mondo Rides, have been lowering their fares and giving special promos to riders to increase uptake of their services, take on competition and build brand loyalty. However, driver partners are demanding higher rates because they end up spending much more than they make from the rides. A large group is also complaining that the firms delay their payments from corporate rides which are either paid weekly or monthly.

Recently, Taxify lowered its prices in Nairobi for September by 50 percent. The firm announced its new rates for clients to KES 70 start, KES 25 per KM, KES 2 per min and Minimum Fare is KES 200. However, the Taxify commissions remained at 15%.

Taxify

Competition

Tariffs

70 / 25 / 2

80 / 33 / 2.4

Avg Trip Price

KES 370

KES 470

Commission

15%

25%

While lowering the prices, Taxify had promised to compensate its drivers with bonuses, to compensate the difference. However, this does not seem to be the case.

Little also announced a 40 percent slash on its prices for the month in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

“We’ve slashed our fares by 40% with KES. 20/km so that you can travel up and down the city for lesser. However do not feel guilty that your Driver would earn peanuts. This promotion cost is taken up by us at Little. Our Drivers would continue earning as before. When you take a Little, your Drivers earns the highest compared to other Hailing Apps,” the firm said in a newsletter distributed to its customers.

Uber has said that it’s open to talks with its drivers should there be any issues arising but the drivers don’t seem to be ready for dialogue. According to an Uber Spokesperson, the driver partners can individually file their issues with the firm any time from its hub. However, the drivers have taken to street demos either for fear of victimization or they already know a predetermined response from the firm.

We have established channels of communication and any driver-partner can speak to us at any time. There are many ways driver-partners can let us know if they have any individual concerns. We have GLH (Green Light Hub) offices where drivers can come and speak to us about their individual concerns throughout the week.  Uber succeeds when our partners succeed and our teams are working hard everyday to find even more ways for drivers using the app to thrive,” the spokesperson told Uber.

Though the Uber Kenya counterparts are asking for a review of their rates, their counterparts in South Africa are petitioning the Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to protect them and end violence after two Uber taxis were petrol bombed by metred taxis in Sandton on the evening of, 7 September.

“Like all South Africans, driver-partners using the Uber app want to exercise their freedom to do their jobs and earn a living for their families without fear of intimidation and violence. However, the authorities and regulators whose responsibility it is to protect the citizens of this country and their consumer choice, are not taking firm enough action against violent criminals, and the violence against drivers choosing technology apps such as Uber continues unabated,” the firm said in its petition adding that the firm is not doing enough to ensure driver security int eh country.