Uber, Bolt drivers stage go-slow, want commissions reduced

Drivers operating on to the Uber Kenya and Bolt platforms on Monday staged a go-slow in a bid to push the firms to lower their commissions.

The move came just days following introduction of rules to cap the commission charged by ride-hailing firms at 18 percent.

The new regulations are, however,  being opposed in court by Uber, arguing that  the move will hamper flexibility on its revenue model, and hurt the ability to negotiate suitable commissions that will affect its investment, demand and competition.

A section of the drivers said  they were not accepting rider requests on  Monday from the two apps in areas such as Eastlands, Kasarani, Nairobi CBD, Waiyaki way, and Kilimani area.

“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 has started today morning,” said Zachariah Mwangi, chairman of Organisation of Online Taxi Drivers and Digital Taxi Association of Kenya.

“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 Sh97.”

Uber Kenya noted that it was aware of the go-slow , adding that it would continue talking to them on the issues raised.

“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,” the firm said.

“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) in June 20 published regulations putting the ceiling on commission charged by digital taxi operators in the country on drivers at 18 percent per trip.

The law was expected to take effect three months after the notice, as a move to cushion thousands of drivers who for years have cried out on declined earnings.

Uber, however, filed a petition with the High Court to suspend the regulations.

Uber charges 25 percent commission per single ride, while Bolt and Little platforms charge 20 percent and 15 percent respectively


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