Taxi drivers decry harassment, call upon Matiang’i to intervene

Public Transport Operations Union members pose in solidarity. PHOTO: MICHAEL MBUGUA.

Nairobi, KENYA: Public Transport Operations Union (PUTON) have called upon the Interior cabinet secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi to urgently investigate why online taxi drivers have been targeted for harassment, arrest and detention in Nairobi.

PUTON which is a union that defends the rights of Taxi drivers, is claiming that online taxi drivers are constantly being attacked in the country.

Addressing members of the press in Nairobi on Thursday, secretary general for PUTON Wickliffe Atulala has stated that, in the past 12 months, they have lost at least 6 drivers and many others have been injured while still on duty.

He claimed that despite the fact that all the deaths have been reported, no arrest has been made or bereaved families compensated.

“Many of our drivers have been harassed, molested and abused by riders. Despite many cases, the drivers continue to suffer in silence. Therefore, we propose that riders with a history of sexual abuse be recorded on their rider profile for deterrence and to notify the drivers whenever they take such trips.” Said Atulala.

Following the incident, the union now calls for all apps to have a distress call button for drivers to alert fellow drivers within 3kms radius in case of emergencies and also all apps to have an emergency call button directly connected to the police hotline in case of emergencies.

They are also demanding that all apps to have an automatic call button that drivers can call their immediate family members automatically during an emergency.

They were not shot of demands after asking also for the Night shifts and Day shift to have different pricing because night trips are regarded as unsafe.

“Nighttime is meant for resting so anyone working must be paid well. Therefore, we propose sh. 100 per kilometer for night travel and sh. 80 per km for day shift.” He proposed.