Change is often met with resistance, a statement that is only too real in the taxi industry. Since the introduction of UBER taxis to the Kenyan market in 2015, traditional taxis have been complaining of unfair competition.
UBER taxis use a transparent billing system that is cheaper than the traditional taxis. As a consumer, I would say that they are way affordable and efficient. They also do not refuse to go to areas where traditional taxis used to decline. I have had incidences when traditional taxi drivers hesitated to drive me to Eastlands in Nairobi, claiming ‘it is not safe’. After much persuasion, I had to pay double what I now pay to UBER.
A statement released today on their website partly read:
Recently, you may have heard of cases of isolated intimidation towards Uber driver-partners. These cases shock and sadden us, as these driver-partners are simply using the Uber platform to earn a living for themselves and their families.
Uber’s technology is open and available to all. Many taxi drivers have already signed up to use the Uber app as a way to increase the number of trips they make on a daily basis and boost their chances for profit, and we welcome more who want to join.
We are deeply committed to the safety of riders and driver-partners before, during and after a trip. We will continue to work hard to ensure a safe, reliable transportation option for the people of Nairobi.
The hashtag #UberTaxiWars has trended the whole of today on twitter. Kenyans On Twitter have been condemning the acts of attacking UBER taxis and telling the industry to adapt or die. Some of the conversations are below:
Any publicity is good publicity…thanks to #UberTaxiWars more Kenyans are aware of Uber services.
— Nimmoh Maalim (@NMaalim) February 1, 2016
What does Kodak Eastman, Smith and Corona, Nokia have in common. They chose to remain dinosaurs and they died. Adapt or Die #UberTaxiWars
— El Nino Maravilla (@Kaka_Dubu) February 1, 2016
Even our TV stations resisted change and they conformed in the end in the digital age customer is king #UberTaxiWars
— Muriithi Mwirigi (@mwirigimuriithi) February 1, 2016
just interviewed Taxi drivers at Yaya, this guys are really bitter , they thought am Uber sent and were ready to beat me up #UberTaxiWars
— M U H A T I A (@AbelMuhatia) February 1, 2016
— Robert ALAI (@RobertAlai) February 1, 2016
One thing is sure, that even people who did not use UBER before are now going to try it out.