BY HENRY MARETE – Sustained industrial action by Uber drivers including frequent strikes and go-slows appears to have finally paid off after the tax hailing firm announced it would be raising its fares by up to 29% beginning Monday next week.
“From Monday, 26 August 2019, Uber will be introducing changes to Uber ChapChap and UberX. These changes have been informed by your continued feedback and many months of thorough reviews on the growth and sustainability of your earnings opportunity,” Uber informed its drivers and partners through a notice.
This will see an Uber X trip that currently costs 400 shillings rise to a minimum of 516 shillings when the new fare regime is implemented on Monday, in what could signal the beginning of the end for low digital cab fares that have seen some motorists prefer to leave their cars at home, helping ease congestion in Nairobi and other major urban centres.
The digital cab drivers have been agitating for an increase in fares to help shore up their share of the earnings after offsetting high vehicle maintenance and fuel expenses.
The price increases by Uber come just weeks after its biggest rival, Bolt, removed the budget fares option known as Bolt Go, effectively raising charges for its users.
In the notice to its partners, Uber said it will also be increasing its budget option, ChapChap rates by 13 percent, or 22 shillings per Kilometre, which is 4 shillings above the prevailing rates.
For the premium UberX cabs, the raise will see fares rise by 11 shillings to a minimum of 38 shillings per Kilometre. Base fares for Uber ChapChap and UberX remain fixed at 80 and 85 shillings respectively.
The shortest rides will now cost 50 shillings more to 150 shillings for Uber ChapChap and 200 shillings for the premium category.