Tension over Uber taxi in East Africa, Kenyan government call for dialogue

A year after penetrating the East African market, American owned app-based taxi service Uber, is now being accused of promoting ‘neo colonialism’ in the transport sector with Kenya taxi drivers calling for its exit.

Kenya Taxi Cab Association (KTCA) alleges that the foreign company has used its economic prowess to force entry into the market rendering 15,000 drivers jobless.

The KTCA spokesman Ashford Mwangi in an interview says Uber is degrading the local taxi drivers and causing clients to shun their services.

He says the company does is not compliant with requirements imposed by the County and National Governments.

The association says Uber services are cheaper because they are not subjected to hefty levies by authorities.

In an interview with Uber driver in Nairobi who sought anonymity revealed that he has been tortured while picking and dropping off clients.

Some reports indicate about four Uber drivers have been attacked and killed. Police in Kenya have launched the investigations into the murder associated to cut throat competition.

On Wednesday Kenya’s taxi drivers gave seven days notice to stop Uber’s operation or cause a paralysis in Nairobi.

Call for dialogue

Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on Thursday, 4 Feb directed his Principal Secretary to convene an urgent meeting with Uber management and the Kenya

Taxi Cab Association to resolve their competition stalemate.

“I have directed PS Interior to call for a meeting with Uber taxis and the other taxis operators so that we can bring a lasting solution,” he stated during a meeting with senior security chiefs at the Kenya School of Government.

Uber’s pricing model

Uber charges are based on a combination of time and distance. If the car is travelling under 11 mph (18 km/h), you will be charged by the minute, and if you are travelling over 11 mph (18 h), you will be charged by the mile.

Uber challenges

Uber has been fighting for its life in a number of countries the latest being India where the service was stopped after a girl was allegedly raped by an Uber driver in early December 2014.

– Wamoyi M. M., Kenya

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