The obstruction of Uber services from Kenyan traditional taxi players has reached a low height following incidents of physical attacks on Uber drivers that have been reported in the city over the weekend.
Yesterday, an Uber taxi driver was attacked at Valley Arcade, an area that has been highlighted as the most volatile hot spot, which is occupied largely by “local” taxis.
The local taxis operators allegedly smashed the windscreen of the Uber driver as he picked a passenger at Valley Arcade.
Uber also alerted its drivers to be cautious around the oval building in Westlands.
“We have received reports of isolated intimidation and harassment of our partner-drivers at the Oval — a commercial building complex — in Nairobi’s Westlands,” Uber said in a message sent to partner-drivers.
“Please be alert and aware in this area by concealing your Uber device and ensuring that your pick-ups and drop-offs take place in public, well-lit areas,” read the text from Uber.
Majority of Kenyans, who seem to be in favour of Uber owing to its affordable prices and convenience compared to traditional cabs, took to social media to condemn the goons.
Taxi operators argue that Uber represents unfair competition because Uber drivers can flout the rules and restrictions that regulate the professionals.
the Uber cab allegedly attacked at Valley Arcade
P. Kiptoo : This is exactly why I’d use @uber_kenyaover these taxi operators. Just a bunch of thugs.
Kennedy W Nyoro: #UberTaxiWars those driving Uber taxis are not foreigners, they are Kenyans who have realized they cannot stand in the way of tech change
brian arapleleito: This is criminal…where are the police?? How is this happening in broad daylight?? #UberTaxiWars
Mkenya Daima: Is it possible to medically evaluate public service drivers.We might be dealing with an acute issue. #UbertaxiWars
Daddy Owen: Technology has landed. ..Conform or be phased out! Sad but true! #ubertaxiwars
Nyadida Bernard : If you can’t beat them join them. Business is about creativity, competition and innovation @uber_kenya. #UberTaxiWars
HOW UBER WORKS
Uber,a tech based American taxi service made an entry into the Kenyan market in January 2015. In August the same year, the taxi company tripled its market growth in Nairobi after introducing a cash payment system. The company also announced that Nairobi is now Uber’s fastest growing places internationally.
Users get a taxi by using a downloaded application that gives them a ride on demand depending on their direction.
Uber’s pricing is hinged on a metering gauge that charges users for every kilometre covered – meaning every trip is openly priced, hence fairer compared to traditional taxis who always overcharge especially depending with the time of the day.
Other than the protest from traditional taxi operators, Uber’s main competitors in the Kenyan market is Easy Taxi Kenya, the local franchise of a Brazil-based firm targeting emerging markets, and Maramoja, a Nairobi-based company.
The local protest facing under is not limited to Kenya as the taxi company as suffered similar reactions in various countries across the globe.