A taxi association Tuesday urged the government to create a level playing field by ordering all operators to brand their vehicles.
The Corporate Cabs Association (CCA), representing 17 Nairobi-based taxi companies, said the entry of taxi-hailing service Uber had created lawlessness in the industry as the latter operated in an unregulated regime.
CCA chairman John Ndung’u and treasurer Richard Wachira said the national and county governments also stood to lose money in the form of taxes since Uber taxis were neither branded nor licensed and their drivers are not vetted.
“We brand our vehicles, we invite revenue officials to our offices, where they ensure every vehicle has a uniformed driver, all relevant PSV licences are paid for and certificates of good conduct obtained.”
The CCA said all its drivers are employees and statutory deductions are made and paid to to relevant bodies monthly, thereby enabling the government to reap returns from individual members.
“For Uber, the IT company has partnered with private motor vehicle owners, who pay nothing to county governments and their vehicles bear no PSV stickers or pay anything for their vehicles’ branding,” said Mr Ndung’u.
Mr Wachira added that clients seeking Uber services expose all their personal information as their phone data is immediately transferred to Uber servers, exposing them to various risks.
“We wonder: In case of an accident, will Uber send a rescue vehicle or who bears responsibility? In our fleet of vehicles, we are fully in charge of our operations and all our drivers bear full identification papers at all times,” he said.
The CCA, which includes cabs from Kenatco, Jimcab, Jatco, Princess, Pewin, Universal and Virgin, said the government should inform Kenyans that the taxi business is an organised business, where taxi operators need to be registered via associations so as to have their drivers vetted.
“We have sacked drivers over integrity issues, but now they are back in business serving clients and when an incident happens it is the name of taxi operators that is tarnished,” said Mr Ndung’u.
Mr Wachira said the CCA would soon launch an app to enable its clients to manage their journeys and appointments online with ease.