March 17, 2017 / 7:05 AM / 3 years ago

Uber Kenya hikes fare by 20 percent after driver strikes

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The Kenyan unit of U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc has increased its fare by 20 percent, a move that follows protests and strikes by Uber drivers who said a lower fare made their service uneconomical.

Uber, which operates in several African countries, cut its fare in Kenya to 35 shillings ($0.3400) per kilometer last year, after local rival Little - backed by Kenyan telecoms operator Safaricom Ltd - introduced a service with a lower price.

Uber drivers have staged regular strikes and protests in Nairobi in recent weeks over the low fare, local media reported.

Lawmakers and ministry of transport officials also supported a higher price.

The company has now raised its fare to 42 shillings per km.

“We believe driver-partners will earn more as a result of these changes,” Uber Kenya said in a statement on Thursday.

As in other markets, Uber drivers in Kenya initially faced opposition and sometimes hostility from other taxi drivers. In March last year, six men were charged with attempted murder and malicious damage to property over an attack on an Uber driver.

Reporting by Duncan Miriri

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