A meeting scheduled for last Tuesday between the representatives of digital taxis (Uber and Bolt) and the various representatives from the Government of Kenya (GoK) failed to take place.
The meeting that was called to iron out issues among them taxi base fare, that has been dogging the sector and has led to a couple of strike by the drivers was to be attended by representatives from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Ministry of Transport, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and Nairobi Senator Sakaja.
Taxi drivers/owners have complained that the base fare and the manner of charging have made them go into loses.
The drivers don’t currently trust their leaders because previous negotiations have never borne any fruits.
‘These leaders were in the first negotiation bribed with cars to drop our demands, recently we know they were given brown envelopes (meaning they were bribed with money)’, said one Taxi driver.
‘I used to put aside money to pay the car loan, but theses days, I can even for a week and barely have any. You’ve seen how most taxi vehicles have been repossessed in Nairobi, Mombasa etc….that tells you something is not right. Banks have made losses from the vehicle sales and most are now desperate to auction the vehicles’, said my taxi driver.
In March this year, Stanbic Bank put up 13 Suzuki Altos (Uber Chap Chap) to recover loans advance to the owners who had defaulted.
More would default but didn’t make news. Because Stanbic Bank had advanced loan to over 350 taxi drivers.
Some said the cars were sold at a higher than normal price (they were being sold at a supposedly subsidized cost of Kshs. 835,000). I tend to believe the sold at ‘higher than normal’ argument and that goes back to bandit economy statement I made above.
Sidian Bank had also financed the purchase of over 150 Suzuki Alto cars. The loan attracted 14 per cent per annum within a period of three years.
ALSO READ: Sad Plight of Digital Taxi Drivers
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