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Taxi drivers’ anti-Uber protests not just in Nairobi alone

By HILARY KIMUYU February 5th, 2016 2 min read

Online taxi hailing firm Uber begun operations in Nairobi in January 2015, but within a month the Kenya Taxi Cab Association called for a withdrawal of its operations.

Over the last two weeks, Uber has reported a series of brutal attacks on its drivers which it is blaming on the rival traditional taxis.

But the taxi drivers say that Uber undercuts them by almost half and that its drivers do not have to pay registration fees.

A number of Uber drivers have reported to police instances of supposed clients attacking them when they arrived to pick them up.


Cases of physical attacks, car windows being smashed and threats of violence have also been widely circulated on social media.

Taxi operators held a demonstration in the streets of Nairobi this week and gave the government seven days to drive Uber taxi service out of Nairobi, failure of which they will paralyse transport.

Nairobi is not the first city to be hit Uber boycott called by traditional taxis.

In London, black cab drivers staged a slowdown protest in May 2015 to protest the lack of regulations for Uber drivers.

In December 2015, a citywide protest took place in Toronto Canada by taxi drivers who said that Uber undermined city bylaws and affected their income.


Paris also saw hundreds of French taxi drivers, joined by others from Belgium and Spain, block Porte Maillot motorway in nationwide strikes regarding competition from Uber.

Taxi drivers demonstrated in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 9, 2015, against the use of the Uber application in the country. The demonstration was called by the Brazilian association of taxi unions.

Taxis also blocked the streets of Melbourne’s in Australia during a rally against ride-sharing service Uber in Melbourne, Australia, on September 10, 2015

In the US, taxi drivers parked their cars and blasted their horns in protest on Pennsylvania Avenue, bringing street traffic to a stop as they demanded an end to ride sharing services such as Uber on June 25, 2014, in Washington.


Harassment of Uber taxi drivers in Kenya started in January, prompting the tech firm to send a message to caution the drivers.

“Please be alert and aware in this area by concealing your Uber device and ensuring that your pickups and drop offs take place in public, well lit areas. In case of intimidation, please report to police and Uber,” read the message from Uber to its drivers.