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Digital taxi operators fight for better earnings in new push

By Wainaina Wambu | February 23rd 2021

Digital taxi drivers now want ride-hailing applications to set minimum commissions at 15 per cent for the Nairobi market.

This is in their latest push for better earnings, where they also want the commissions charged by the app companies pushed down to 10 per cent for operators in Nakuru and Mombasa.

Uber and Bolt take a minimum commission of 25 and 20 per cent respectively from drivers on their network. The drivers, under their lobby, Digital Transport Forum also want the app companies to define minimum wage per trip and service level agreement localised per Kenyan laws.

"Uber and Bolt still have their service level agreements in line with European laws,” said Digital Transport Forum Secretary-General Wycliffe Alutulala.

Mr Alutulala pressed for the legislation of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) rules 2020 that seeks to streamline the sector through a regulatory framework.

Recently, the UK Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers are entitled to worker rights such as the minimum wage.

Mr Alutulala urged the State to implement the UK ruling locally and recognise uber drivers as workers not independent contractors. "Many of us have suffered losses, been maimed and lost families due to the poor working conditions."

The drivers also want upfront payment feature on the apps scraped as well as "dead miles" where the app does not factor in distance covered when picking a client. "This is a skewed business model that has claimed drivers’ livelihoods and vehicle owners’ investments,” said Alutulala.

They want drivers included in social protection and the National Hospital Insurance Fund as well as clarification on the digital service tax payment.

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