Cabs in Kenyan capital must roam

April 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – The Nairobi City Council insists taxi operators who are objecting to new regulations, including a uniform colour for all cabs must comply.
Town Clerk Philip Kisia says the council will not rescind the decision to enforce by-laws that require all taxis within the Central Business District to be painted yellow and operate from a designated zone among other rules.

“All those things that we are implementing are in the by-laws. Colour of a taxi must be yellow, it must have a meter, it has to have a number (and) it has to operate from a particular zone,” the Town Clerk stated. “We are not introducing anything new. We are merely enforcing the law.”

Speaking to Capital News, the City’s Chief Executive further stressed the need to improve the by-laws and place Nairobi at par with other international cities.

“Taxis all over the world are never stationary. They are always mobile and that is one thing that I will want to introduce sooner than later,” he said.

Taxi operators in the Central Business District have opposed the directive by City Hall requiring them to drive around looking for customers instead of waiting for them at parking bays.

Kenya Taxi Cab Association chairman (680 branch) James Karanu said that taxi operators pay parking fees like other motorists and have a right to park their vehicles.

“We are paying for operation license and the parking fee at Sh140. When they now say that we roam, that is impossible taking into consideration the fact that we have traffic jams in the city,” he stated.

Some operators, however, have started complying with the order but Mr Karanu saw the new rules as an invasion by powerful cartels interested in taking over the taxi business.

“This business was previously looked down upon. Now that it has been seen to be profitable, they want to oppress us,” he complained.

Another taxi driver near the 680 Hotel also expressed his sentiments regarding the directive.
“I do not see the reason why we should keep on rotating since so far, we have not reached that age. Right now the price of fuel is as high as Sh90 and if we keep on driving around, then we would waste a lot of money,” he explained.

Each city that licenses cabdrivers has its own regulations. In New York City, a cabby must be a licensed car driver but also one without a serious prison record, and to get a job one must usually be able to furnish three business references.

There are also rules governing the use of the radio, what he may and may not refuse to carry  and he is not supposed to ask before a person enters the cab as to where he/she wants to go.


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