NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21 – Nairobi online taxi operators are Monday set to meet Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi to discuss emerging security concerns impeding business in the sector.
Speaking to Capital FM News on Sunday, Digital Taxi Forum’s Head of Communication Ryan Kanyadong said the drivers want security policies within the county restructured to ensure proper tracking on insecurity cases.
“Some of our drivers face carjacking issues and the matters go unresolved since there is no proper tracking system that would reflect the entire process before the incident occurred,” said Kanyadong.
Taxi-hailing companies have been forced to respond to passenger safety concerns following alleged misconduct by operators.
Recently, an operator in Mombasa was accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year old boy he picked from school.
Fredrick Njenga, an operator with a local taxi-hailing firm, was on Wednesday arraigned before Shanzu Senior Resident Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda on allegations of forcing the minor to have oral sex with him.
Shanzu Senior Resident Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda on Wednesday released Njenga on a Sh100,000 bond with the same amount of surety or Sh50,000 cash bail after dismissed a charge sheet by the prosecution as improper.
“That is not a proper charge against the suspect. Find a proper charge,” Shikanda told the prosecution side which did not raise objection to his bail application.
He ordered the prosecution to review the charges when the matter comes up for mention on July 23.
READ: Court frees taxi driver arrested for molesting 13-year-old, prosecution ordered to review charges
In February, an employee of a company based at the Nation Centre, Mildred Odira, went missing after hailing a taxi to take her to hospital in Nairobi.
She was later found dead at City Mortuary with her body having deep cuts on the forehead, neck, and navel.
Police in April released a taxi-driver who had picked the 32-year-old after a senior State Prosecutor told a magistrate court in Kiambu there was no sufficient evidence linking him to Odira’s murder.
Commenting on the ongoing strike by a section of taxi drivers operating under taxi-hailing firms in Nairobi, Kanyadong said the go-slow will continue until a Memorandum of Understanding signed in July 2018 is implemented.
“There is hope so far since we received an audience from the transport ministry and we also hope that CS Matiang’ will be the mediator of the matter otherwise we will not report to work until the matter is solved,” he added.
Under the agreement, taxi-hailing firms were to review fares upwards to cushion operators from high operating costs.
The taxi drivers demanded the rates be reviewed to match their counterparts in Mombasa County.
“The online taxi drivers recommend the rates be revised to between Sh48-Sh55 per km for 1300 cc and below cars in line with Automobile Association of Kenya (AAK) recommendations of 45/- per km,” said Kanyadong during a phone interview.
In Mombasa, the county government intervened to have the rates reviewed according to Kanyadong increasing the rates for Uber and Bolt to Sh45 per kilometer.
Current charges for the two taxi-hailing firms in Nairobi average Sh15 per kilometer for 1300cc engine capacity vehicles and below.