Shipping & Logistics

Taxi lobbies, online hailing firms team up to resolve fares row

Kotwa chairman Daniel Omondi (C) with members. photo | DIANA NGILA | nmg
Kotwa chairman Daniel Omondi (C) with members. photo | DIANA NGILA | nmg 

Taxi lobbies have formed a team in their latest bid to resolve the raging row over fares and commissions as City Hall joins efforts to end the standoff.

The 10-member team from Digital Taxi Association (Dtak), Kenya Online Taxi Welfare Association (Kotwa) and United Online Cab Association (Uoca) will meet representatives of online taxi-hailing firms on September 29 at an event presided over by Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe.

The meeting seeks to end a wave of discontent that saw drivers take to the streets on Monday to demand increased fares and reduced commissions.

Online taxi firms, Mondo Ride, Taxify and Little have met the commission threshold demand of between 10 to 15 per cent, but Uber’s rate remains at 25 per cent.

“We shall have another meeting . Before the meeting we shall have created the self-regulatory body and also calculated what the optimum price should be. County government will also draft policies that will be beneficial to the online community in the long-term,” said David Muteru, chairman DTAK.

“We are still on a go-slow until the issues we have raised are addressed. We hope to bring to an end this issue so that our members can get down to work and earn a living,” he said.

During the associations’ first meeting with Mr Igathe on Monday it was resolved that a supervisory body comprising the associations’ members, the online taxi platforms and other industry stakeholders be formed to oversee the operations of the industry. The body is meant to drive dialogue and resolve disputes whenever they arise.

Earlier, the warring associations members had met on Sunday and agreed to register under one lobby to ensure that their concerns are addressed.

Days before last week’s strike, a section of the drivers took off from the original group, DTAK and formed Kotwa while others came together under Ucoa.

“The three associations will continue to maintain their independence, but we will always come together whenever an issue arises,” said Kotwa chairman Daniel Omondi.

James Mwangi, the associations lead negotiator, said that following the Sunday meeting the three groups have resolved to work together.

“There may be an ideological difference regarding leadership style of the three groups but the elephant in the room is the same; taxi app companies are taking advantage of driver/partners,” he said.

In a Memorandum of Understanding presented to the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) , the DTAK is demanding that riders using mobile money pay for the service must include withdrawal charges.

Other fees that include parking and waiting charges should be borne by the rider too. The drivers are also asking to be involvement during decision making.