The cost of Uber rides nearly doubled on some routes in the city as new rates announced by the digital taxi company took effect Monday.
Riders taking UberX and ChapChap options on average paid more than 60 percent above the older charges during off-peak hours in a big win for the digital cab drivers who have in the past pushed for increased rates, citing high operating costs.
The fares on some long-distance destinations such as Rongai nearly doubled on the Uber ChapChap option.
UberX’s off-peak prices for a Central Business District (CBD) to Rongai town ride jumped by 61 percent to Sh1,290 from Sh800 while the cost of a journey from the city centre to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) rose by about 49 percent to Sh1,100.
ChapChap rates also rose by 85 percent to cost Sh980 during off-peak for riders taking a taxi from the city centre to Rongai town while a rider heading to JKIA will pay Sh760, or 43 percent more.
The new ChapChap rates increase significantly after a ride exceeds 11 kilometres; since a rider pays Sh8 more per extra kilometre on top of the normal charges.
ChapChap per kilometre rates are Sh22, which is Sh6 higher per kilometre than the previous prices. Base fares for ChapChap and Uber X categories remain unchanged at Sh80 and Sh85, respectively, however, with shortest rides costing Sh50 more to Sh150 for ChapChap and Sh200 for the UberX option.
Riders taking the new premium option, UberX, are paying Sh11 more per kilometre to Sh38 and a shilling extra per minute charge. A Sh4 per minute flat rate fee applied previously, but Uber X users will now pay Sh5 per minute.
In a notice sent to drivers last week, Uber announced a price increase during an announcement where it also scrapped off UberSelect - the premium category - and in its place will be the UberX which will only enlist cars with an engine capacity of above 1,300cc.
Drivers on ChapChap option will pay 25 percent commission on the first 15 weekly trips and thereafter remit three percent on the remaining journeys completed.
The 25 percent commission charge on total earnings remains unchanged for vehicles on the UberX category.
“…these changes have been informed by your continued feedback and many months of thorough reviews on the growth and sustainability of your earnings opportunity,” said Uber in a notice sent to drivers and partners on Tuesday,” said Uber in a notice sent to drivers and partners last week.
Select drivers, however, are not happy with the new Uber move saying that the pre-conditions and the rigidity of the new model would deter them from making decent earnings.
“Price reviews without pre-conditions would have been fair. The changes Uber has made are not beneficial to the drivers,” said Rhayan Kanyandong’, the Digital Partners Society chairman.