That above is a strong-worded statement from a member of the Kisumu community after the former brought terror on the app-based taxi operators.

JV Owiti, a Kisumu born and Obunga-raised attorney of the High Court of Kenya opines as below:

I am reliably informed that traditional taxi drivers in my hometown Kisumu are fighting any attempts to establish Bolt, Uber and other technology-based taxi service providers in a bid to block the latter from the market and keep a grip thereto. They have resorted to violence against their counterparts.

It’s unfortunate that Kisumu has to be continually and continuously associated with violence and even more unfortunate that “new” business ideas and prospective investors are faced with threats from those who feel entitled to the Kisumu business space.

However, and more important is the fact that the newcomers will thrive and win in the long run. The traditional taxi drivers had better-embraced technology the earlier they can. They will have to shape up to technology or ship out.

The world is growing and developing at a very fast rate. Those that want to stick to traditional means will be overtaken by the speed of change.

I can safely predict that their resort to violence will lead to a few of them being arrested, and they will lose the battle and finally comply.

God bless Kisumo.

Another Kisumu resident, Eric Ochanji had this to say:

To the taxi drivers of Kisumu who attacked the app managed car owners, l have a few words for you.

You will not take us back to the days of hunters and gatherers. Nobody has ever fought progressive technology and won. There were riots against app managed cabs in Paris, New York, London everywhere. Eventually, the rioters coiled their tails and went with the flow. It is like you are telling us to discard mobile phones and start whistling again to call people from other villages. 

He advises:

  • One drinks at Vunduba, you call a taxi to take you to Kondele and he tells you 1,500. Nikikukatia leta 1,200. A distance of two and a half kilometers. App managed cabs, 300. Kwa nani?!! You have several options. If you have a clean car, place it on a car hire business. Kisumu people love showing off with hired cars in the villages and in other towns.
  • Register with the apps and do business.
  • Take the taxi business to the village. There are no apps there.
  • Do what other taxi drivers are doing in Nairobi. Wako tu hapo. They get their clients kidogo and apps pia wanapata yao. Living side by side.
  • Go home if you don’t want business.

Nothing that brings relief to consumers has ever failed on earth. We are many, you are few. There is nothing you can do us. Let me tell you freely, frankly. You will kowtow!

Kisumu must play in the league of other Metropolis. You are on your own.

These two are just a few sentiments on this ensuing tussle on mobility in the lakeside city of Kisumu. It is a growing concern among the residents of the city and an amicable solution and or a working formulae needs to be fast-tracked, as this animosity will definitely have a huge impact on the lives of not just the taxi operators, but also of their passengers. The two forms of service have been seen to successfully coexist in many cities world over, and Kisumu is no exception. They also had this teething problem, but they soon also got over it. We hope for the best for Kisumu.

What are your thoughts about the app-based taxis vs the traditional taxi model? Are they disrupting mobility or they are destroying normal taxi businesses, as claimed?

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