Uber on a smartphone

Earlier today, digital taxi service provider Uber announced a raise in their fares. Now the minimum amount of fare is KShs. 300, a hundred bob more from the usual Kshs. 200 in Nairobi while in Mombasa it increased from KShs. 150 to KShs. 200. Also, they have been charging KShs. 35 for every kilometre traveled, but the revision means you will be supposed to pay Kshs 42 from now henceforth.  “Prices are designed to encourage more riders on the road, to help increase trips for drivers, but equally, you want to make sure the basic economics of drivers are sustainable,” read part of their press release.

Clearly Uber have taken into consideration their drivers’ demands, since they demonstrated recently after Uber cut their prices by 35% to brush off the competition that was being brought by other companies offering similar services. The drivers threatened to switch allegiance to companies like LittleCab which had a better deal compared to Uber back then. LittleCab is co owned by Safaricom and Craft Silicon.

This comes a day after Equity bank announced a dip in their profits, putting the country’s economy on the scope. Hard economic times? Maybe. But prior to this, many questioned the tactics employed by Uber which began by seductive rates that threw local taxis out of business. They were charging KShs. 60 per Kilometre but reduced it to KShs. 35 mid last year. Many argued that Uber literally wanted to have them out and monopolise it before they capitalise on that and hike their prices.

Uber on a smartphone

Meanwhile, the charges per minute remain unchanged at KShs. 3 while the base fare for Mombasa rose from KShs. 50 to KShs. 70. For the starters, the charges per minute are the charges you incur if by any chance you get stuck in traffic and the fuel consumption has to go on as well as time spent on you. It makes sense businesswise, more especially in Nairobi where traffic is a nuisance.