Another Uber taxi burnt down in Riruta, Nairobi

Nairobi ,Kenya: Another Uber taxi was Tuesday night torched in the ongoing fight between Uber and traditional taxis in Nairobi.

The vehicle was burnt down in Riruta area in the city by four men who had been waiting for it but the driver escaped unhurt, police said.

The driver says he had picked a customer from Yaya Centre area to Riruta where he was to pick a woman but on reaching the destination, four men emerged and attacked the car damaging it before they burnt it.

“The four were joined by the man who had hired the taxi as the driver jumped out and escaped on foot,” said Nairobi police boss Japheth Koome.

This is the second such incident in a month to happen in the city.  The incident took place as the government sits on a report that had made various recommendations on the operations of the business.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho is yet to make public the recommendations as promised, a month after he received the report from a team he had appointed.

This has left the new entrants into the free market exposed to attacks with little help from authorities.

Kibicho did not respond to our calls.

Another car was on February 22 burnt in Kilimani area in a similar attack and no arrest has been made so far.

The driver of the Uber taxi was dropping off a passenger along Kirichwa Road in the night when his car was blocked by another one and attacked before being burnt.

The row stems from claims that Uber is undercharging customers to run other taxis out of business.

Koome said the Tuesday attack was the latest to be reported in a series of the fight over business in the taxi industry.

Most of the incidents reported are smashing of cars by unknown people.

A team led by Competition Authority boss Wangombe Kariuki came up with laws and recommendations that are supposed to be followed.

The setting up of the team followed threats by traditional taxi operators to strike if Uber was not tamed.

During the meeting in February 2016, it was resolved that all taxi operators must observe law and order at all times.

“Any person engaged in acts of lawlessness will be dealt with sternly in accordance with the law. We have an established mechanism of resolving disputes, and lawlessness is not one of them,” said Kibicho.

An association of taxi operators has raised concerns over the entry of Uber taxi, which using a mobile app, are offering fares less than half the price charged by conventional taxis, a situation that has not settled in well with traditional taxi operators who will held a strategy meeting Wednesday.

Uber taxi app was launched in Nairobi in January 2015, with the US firm looking to leverage on the country’s 19 million mobile internet subscribers.

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