Kenya’s online taxi-hailing firm Little has increased customer charges by Sh5 to Sh35 per kilometre, signalling a possible a wave of price increase by rivals Uber and Taxify that will see riders pay more to pacify hostile drivers.
Riders will, in addition, pay Sh4 per kilometre and Sh100 as base fare. Prices for shortest ride will go up from Sh150 to Sh250.
Little also revised cost per kilometre for its Comfort and Luxury categories to Sh45 and Sh50 per kilometre, respectively.
Little’s move comes barely a week after e-hailing app providers in Kenya signed an agreement with taxi drivers which recommended an increase in customer charges.
The agreement established the Automobile Association (AA) rates as the standard for the cab sector, automatically increasing the cost of rides.
The agreement was also signed by Little’s rivals Uber and Taxify.
The AA rates stand at Sh26 per kilometre for vehicles with engine capacity of between 850cc to 1050cc and Sh42 per kilometre for 1050cc to 1300cc cars.
“I don’t take our fellow drivers for granted. I humbly request you, our riders, to accept this minor price adjustment, which will go a long way in bridging the gap towards a better driver welfare,” said Kamal Budhabhatti, the CEO of Little’s parent firm Craft Silicon.
Digital Taxis Association of Kenya chairman David Muteru said its drivers were satisfied by Little’s effort to better their earnings.
The agreement also called for quarterly stakeholder meetings, conflict resolution and security measures that require taxi app providers to offer quick response to drivers in danger.
This followed claims that 18 drivers have been murdered in the line of duty and no immediate response was provided.
Uber Thursday announced a call-back service for its riders in critical need of help in a raft of measures employed to boost security for app users.
“We are always looking for ways to improve communication with our community and we are excited to be announcing this call-back line for riders for any safety-related matters they might have,” said Loic Amado, general manager for Uber East Africa.