Digital special hire drivers demand increased fares

Wednesday December 12 2018

Currently, Uber charges a minimum fare of

Currently, Uber charges a minimum fare of Shs4,000 with a commission rate of 25 per cent while Taxify charges Shs4,500 with a commission of Shs4,500. 

By EPHRAIM KASOZI

Digital special hire drivers have demanded application operators to increase fares per kilometre to match with the current costs incurred to sustain their work of ferrying people to different places in the country.

Digital cab drivers are motorists whose business is conducted by use of an application installed on mobile smart phones.
Under their umbrella body, the Smart Online Drivers Association (SODA), they yesterday decried what they described as unfair treatment of drivers in terms of pricing negligence of safety of drivers and unnecessary deactivations which are frustrating their work.

Currently, Uber charges a minimum fare of Shs4,000 with a commission rate of 25 per cent while Taxify charges Shs4,500 with a commission of Shs4,500.

Addressing the media in Kampala, the SODA leader, Mr Musa Kabunga, said the rates set by the said companies are low, unfair and exploitative in nature which need to be increased amid the high fuel prices.
Mr Kabunga said the companies lured youthful Ugandans into acquiring car loans with a promise that they will make money with the new modern mode of transport.

Seven-day ultimatum
“We demand that minimum fares be set in line with the current fuel prices or even high to cater for vehicle service and maintenance, insurance covers, airtime and mobile data that is at least Shs7,000 from Shs4,000 and this to cover 2.5Km,” Mr Kabunga said.

While giving a seven-day ultimatum to the companies to respond to their demands, Mr Kabunga asked the companies to increase the fares charged for a kilometre from Shs500 to at least Shs1,500 and waiting time from Shs100 per minute to Shs400.
He added: “We demand that pick up fares be introduced especially for pick-ups beyond one Kilometre. That fare compensation system be introduced in cases of under calculation of fares by the application.”

Ms Sarah Wanyanga, the Taxify marketing manager in-charge of East Africa in an email, said: “We are in receipt of your inquiry and will respond by tomorrow morning.”

Efforts to get a comment from Uber were futile as the known phone contact remained unanswered.

The spokesperson of SODA, Mr Mercilus Katandi, demanded that a cancellation fee be set because most of the clients are taking advantage of its absence which causes loss to the drivers.
“In the area of safety of drivers, many drivers are nursing wounds and loss over accidents while driving Uber and Taxify clients. Some who drive at night have been robbed and stabbed,” Mr Katandi lamented.
According to Mr Katandi, world over Uber and Taxify have been criticised for unfair treatment of drivers which resulted into strikes in Kenya that compelled government there to intervene to harmonise the fares.

INCREMENT OF FARES
The SODA leader, Mr Musa Kabunga, has asked the companies to increase the fares charged for a kilometre from Shs500 to at least Shs1,500 and waiting time from Shs100 per minute to Shs400.

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