Uber Kenya has, this morning, revised their prices upwards. This comes after weeks of incessant pressure from Uber driver partners. The driver partners have been intermittently on strike for the last few weeks demanding that Uber 1.) adjusts the fares upwards, and 2.) lowers the percentage of the amount they deduct from every ride. The company currently deducts 25% from every ride.
Despite the price revision, Uber partner drivers took to the streets again this morning pressing to get get the prices they had asked for. Some of them even threatened violence to drivers who will opt out of the strike, The Star newspaper reported. The drivers want the company to charge Kshs. 60 per kilometre and Ksh. 4 per minute. This was Uber’s introductory rate when it launched in Kenya almost two years. The drivers are demanding the company reverts to that initial pricing as they await a review of the pricing by a committee that is to be formed. Some of the placards displayed by the drivers, and some of the demands they share show that they would like Uber to charge as high Kshs. 100 per kilometre.
By going on strike this morning, the driver partners have basically turned down Uber’s latest price revision. Under the price adjustments , for Nairobi, the minimum fare reverts to the initial Kshs.300, while the cost per kilometre will now be Kshs. 42, from the current Kshs. 35. The base fare and price per kilometre remain at Kshs.100 and ksh.3, respectively.
In Mombasa, the minimum fare is up to Kshs.200 from Kshs. 150 while the cost per kilometre and per minute will be similar to the Nairobi rates. Base fare rises by Kshs.20 from the current Kshs.50 .
Uber has recently received several requests and entreaties to revise their fares from several quarters including government. The PS for the Ministry of Transport, a week ago, wrote to Uber urging the reconsider their pricing. The National Assembly’s Transport Committee Chairman Maina Kamanda outrightly threatened to regulate Uber if they did not raise the price to at least Kshs. 40 per KM. Such an action(regulation) would be basically illegal in Kenya. Kenya Taxi Owners Association also asked parliament to regulate the taxi sector in Kenya to create a fair environment for all players.
Seems Uber matched Kamanda’s suggestion. But still the drivers are dissatisfied, terming the price change as a gimmick to disrupt their strike. This, clearly, is a story that is still writing itself.