Uber taxis paralyse transport services in Mombasa

By Correspondent

More than 300 Mombasa Uber taxi drivers Monday protested at falling returns and asked management to review of the rates they charge clients.

The drivers who converged at the seaside Mama Ngina recreational park threatened to down tools Wednesday if the management in Nairobi does not respond to their grievances.

Mombasa Uber Partners group Chairman Evanson Mbugua and his Uber Drivers Association counterpart James Maganga said they could no longer maintain their vehicles and service bank loans with the current returns.

Mbugua told the press they used to make Sh3000 daily when they joined Uber Taxis in February last year following attractive initial incentives but they now hardly make Sh1000 daily.

“We have aired our grievances severally with management in Nairobi. We have gathered here today to put the management on notice that we will down tools on Thursday if the rates we charge clients on different routes are not reviewed,” Mbugua said.

Mbugua said they wanted the charges to be brought closer to market rates for the business to be profitable and stop harassment from other players who feel there was unfair compensation.

“We have been pushing for raised fares but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. We now need change so that we can make ends meet,” Mbugua argued.

According to Mr Maganga, Uber taxis charge Sh550 fair for clients travelling between Mombasa town centre to Moi international airport while the general market charges Sh1200 for the same trip.

“We buy the same fuel and also pay for maintenance of our vehicles. The rates currently authorized by Uber Taxis are barely enough to sustain our operations. The rates should be reviewed upwards,” Maganga said.

The drivers parked hundreds of their cars at the recreational park and chanted as they vowed to join their counterparts in Nairobi in pushing for review of the rates claiming even tuk tuks were charging higher rates than their luxury vehicles fitted with air conditioners.

According to the drivers, the air conditioning was a compulsory requirement for them to join Uber Taxis as they enable them give comfort to clients amid the sweltering coastal heat although they consume a lot of fuel.