Uber partners and drivers during the demonstration on August 02, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESYUber partners and drivers during the demonstration on August 02, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY
By EVELYNE MUSAMBI

A group of online taxi company Uber’s drivers and partners on Tuesday staged demonstrations outside the firm’s offices at The Mirage in Westlands for hours before proceeding to register under a rival firm.

The drivers camped outside the Uber offices for hours but attempts to have talks between their leaders and the company’s representatives failed.

During the mid-morning and noon hours, the drivers were offline although few drivers went on with normal operations.

HIKED FARES

The protest and withdrawal of cars led to a surge in fares as customers had to pay double the normal rates.

After failing to secure audience with the company’s representatives, the partners and drivers moved to rival firm Little Cab’s offices in Craft Silicone along Waiyaki Way to negotiate a pact.

The Kenya Digital Taxis Association Secretary General Peter Mbugua told Nairobi News that they held discussions with Little Cab officials to negotiate for better terms of service.

“We intend to work with the firm on a written agreement to guard our business in future so as to avoid cases like the Uber one where the firm decided to reduce prices without consulting us,” said Mr Mbugua.

PHOTO | COURTESY

PHOTO | COURTESY

Uber Kenya on Thursday announced that it had cut its fares by 35 per cent in a move aimed at getting more customers on board.

The move, however, angered a section of its partners and drivers who staged a go-slow before holding protests on Tuesday.

A partner who spoke to Nairobi News on condition of anonymity narrated how on joining the platform over a year ago business was booming.

“When I joined Uber from the traditional taxi business, I was making a lot of money per day and I was even part of the team that activated Mombasa.”

“So when they treat us as though we do not matter anymore it angers me as we started with them when the market was still getting used to online taxis,” said the partner.

According to Mr Mbugua, their business will be greatly affected as Uber had by Tuesday started deactivating drivers who were offline.

“We will bleed for a few weeks but I can assure our members that once the agreement with Little Cab comes to effect business will be booming,” he added.

The partners stated that they were willing to bear with Little Cab, which is said to have less ride requests compared to Uber.

“The customers are the ones who make a brand and so with time as we do business it will grow to become a household name as well,” said one of the partners who was present at the Little Cab meeting.