The contretemps between taxi drivers and Uber partners in Nairobi continue to escalate. Earlier in the week, we told you of growing dissent among local cab drivers, with what they see as increased competition by the taxi hailing service. The taxi drivers feel that Uber is taking away their business but is not willing to accept all the taxi drivers especially those with old vehicles (2008+). The situation has led to attacks against Uber rides in several places in Nairobi with Hurlingam, Westlands and Valley Arcade seen as hotspots for these attacks. Earlier in the week, blogger Robert Alai shared screen shots of a WhatsApp group conversation on Twitter, in which taxi drivers are seen planning attacks against Ubers. Through the Ministry of Interior and Coordination, the government acknowledged it was aware of the attacks and said the Kenya police is investigating these attacks. The government stated perpetrators will face the full wrath of the law. The statement by the government also stated business rivalry should be handled through legal process and not through attacks or intimidation.
Now the Kenya Taxi Cab Association has threatened to hold mass action in 7 days if Uber does not withdrawal its services in Nairobi. The taxi drivers also asked for the government to intervene as over 15,000 taxi drivers risk being run out of business by the taxi hailing service. The taxi drivers state that Uber is not compliant with county and national government regulations, which makes the service cheaper. The drivers have also denied that their members have been orchestrating the attacks against Uber drivers in Nairobi. Uber has faced stiff resistance in most markets it has set operations in including London, Paris and New Delhi owing to complaints from traditional cabbies. We shall definitely follow up on this as it unravels.