See why Uber and Bolt drivers staged a go-slow protest in Kenya

Uber in Kenya
  • Uber and Bolt's drivers staged a protest on Monday to push both riding-sharing companies to reduce their commission
  • Fuel price and high commission is reducing the profit margin on the side of the drivers
  • On the other hand, a reduced commission would affect the business model of both ride-sharing companies

Uber and Bolt's drivers in Kenya staged a strike on Monday in protest of the commission they’ve been asked to pay.

The commission has been imposed on the drivers despite their inability to influence the price they can charge a customer.

As a result, the drivers staged a go-slow on Monday to force both companies to reduce their commission.

The drivers spoke to Business Daily on Monday and disclosed that they were not accepting rider requests from the two apps in areas such as Eastlands, Kasarani, Nairobi CBD, Waiyaki way, and Kilimani area.

The strike is coming days after the new regulations to cap the commission charged by taxi-hailing companies at 18 percent took effect. Uber challenged the move in court, which reiterated that it would affect its business model and stifle the ability to negotiate suitable commissions that will affect its investment, demand, and competition.

“We are asking Uber and Bolt to obey the law. Regulations were supposed to take effect on September 22. This is the backbone of our strike which started today morning.” The Organization of Online Taxi Drivers and Digital Taxi Association of Kenya chairman said.

He added, “The other problem we have is we don’t determine prices, the companies do. We are still operating with the same price when fuel prices were at Ksh97 ($0.80).”

In response, Uber stated, “We are aware that a small group of e-hailing drivers plan to go offline (not using the app). We respect drivers as valuable partners with a voice and a choice and we want drivers to feel they can talk to us about anything at any time.

However, drivers are diverse in how they use the Uber app and it would be difficult for an individual or group to holistically represent every driver on the app.”

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) on June 20th published regulations putting the ceiling on commission charged by ride-sharing companies in the country on drivers at 18 percent per trip.

The move was made to help increase drivers' profit margins, which have been on a steady decline for years.

However, Uber which typically charges a 25% commission has filed a petition to the high court to revise the regulation.

This is not the only instance both ride-hailing companies have had with difficult local regulations. Uber and Bolt recently just resumed operations in Tanzania. They had pulled out due to regulations imposed on them that made it difficult for both companies to run a smooth operation within the country. Read story here…

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