My grievances with Nairobi’s cab taxis…

I love riding with taxi cabs but the operators aren’t paying attention to my frustrations...

It’s difficult to hop from one part of Nairobi to the other especially when you’ve got a serious appointment. The city’s public transportation is very disorganized, congested with limited space for you and your belongings in addition to reckless driving. Such discomforts make riding with the taxi cab a better and safe option.

I have always enjoyed booking taxis using Uber and Little Cab apps only when I was in a rush to somewhere or carrying some precious stuff. Though they’ve revolutionalized the cab taxi industry with their improved services, they’ve fallen far short of providing me with a satisfactory riding experience. Here are my grievances against them…

Misplaced locations

At times I’m unable to find my exact pickup point or destination within the city center from the maps provided by these taxi apps. Shouldn’t they be updating their maps with accurate content for easing their services? There are times when I’m going to a specific location within the city but I can’t find it on their maps but it’s visible on the Google Maps app! It really annoys me when I can’t find a specific location on the outdated maps provided by these apps.

Drivers not knowing certain places

I mean, this is Nairobi and you’d expect an experienced driver who’s lived and worked here for decades to know every place! Others don’t know how to use these digital maps while the rest just misinterpret them. So if their apps don’t bring up your specific pickup point or destination, at least you’d expect the drivers to personally know that place but woe! They’ll keep delaying while asking almost everyone where a specific place is located. Are these really professional drivers? How well do they even know their areas of operation?

Dishonest drivers

Some do have a common habit of taking routes prone to heavy traffic and others cheat their passengers by diverting to longer routes. It’s so pathetic to discover that your driver has smartly defrauded you. Since am not quite familiar with some areas within Nairobi, at times I’m not aware that the driver is taking the longer route whose distance and fare double the shortest available route! This habit truly pisses me off and I wonder why such incompetent drivers are even recruited!

Arrogant drivers

Not only are these drivers greedy but also arrogant in their service. Little do they know that decent customer care can improve their reputation. During your ride, you’re entitled to listen to any radio station of your choice but when you ask them to do the tuning, all they do is to give you a red face! When it’s hot and you ask them to turn on the A/C they don’t and when you reach your destination they won’t bother finding a parking space but instead, they’ll stop in the middle of the street and ask you to alight! Some have nasty driving habits – unnecessarily overtaking other vehicles and sprinting in front of other turning vehicles!

Promising non-existent amenities

These cab taxi companies allure their clients with appealing amenities like free wi-fi internet and discounted fares which do not even exist! Well, these days we need to be consistently connected to the internet for various reasons and it seems these cab taxis are taking the advantage to allure us into riding with them. Ever since I started riding with taxi cabs, I have used free wifi internet only once and on other rides, I’ve had the drivers giving excuses that they don’t have the internet!!

Having no fixed taxi fares

You can ride with ease well knowing how much you’re exactly going to pay when you reach your destination but it’s a pity that such provisions aren’t catered for in these cab taxis. What annoys me most is when the booking app gives you confusing estimated fares to your destination and after you reach there, it tells you to pay more than the initial amount. At least Uber gives you a definite amount you should pay but Little App doesn’t!

Giving completely wrong statistics

I later realized that taxi fares with these companies surged during my trips due to wrong calculations by their booking apps, i.e. giving inaccurate distances (from my place to the city center it’s 13km, even Google Maps shows it but these apps tell me it’s longer than that and hence, I have to pay for the extra km). Even their fare calculation systems seem to be compromised, so if am paying fares based on how many kilometers I ride, then why the separate fares charged per minute spent on the ride? This is double-charging and to make it worse, these guys do not mind other obstacles you encounter along the way that may hike up the fare, i.e. waiting time at busy traffic junctions, delays at road construction/repairs and while refilling at the fuel station. These delays eat up my riding time and therefore increasing my fare!

Though these cab taxi rentals came advertising improved services better than conventional taxicabs (now no difference), I feel that they’ve got a long way to go with plenty of issues to sort. I remember being bombarded with appealing ads of hair-raising fares and improved comfort and I was truly excited but with such anomalies, I am heavily displeased with these popular cab taxis. If nothing is done to sort out all the above grievances, soon we shall witness their own demise within a short time. Am not the only victim, but many others too! Let’s keenly watch this space…

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