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Rogue Taxify, Little Cab drivers putting lives of riders at risk.

figure By ANNIE NJANJA A number of drivers affiliated to online taxi-hailing apps, Taxify and Little, are operating without public service vehicle (PSV) insurance putting the lives of riders at risk, the Business Daily has learnt in the latest revelation of the extent of rot in the subsector.It has emerged that the taxi drivers are blatantly breaking rules aided by lack of systems on Taxify and Little platforms to flag down operators with expired documents including PSV insurance and licences.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is in charge of issuing PSV licences to taxi drivers upon inspection. The operators are required to comply with various rules, including an up-to-date PSV insurance.

Vehicles in public transport business are also required to undergo annual inspection when the validity of the insurance cover is checked.'SAVING MONEY'The non-compliant drivers admitted to deliberately breaking the law arguing that it was a means of saving money with the dwindling of their returns due to increased competition in the sector.

The vehicles of the rogue drivers have private insurance or third party covers in place of the required PSV insurance.One driver, whose PSV insurance expired at the end of October was able to log on Little and Taxify platforms as late as Tuesday and was also regularly receiving alerts "hellipto stay online for longer and earn more.

..

". He was, however, temporarily blocked from accessing Uber until he has replaced his expired document.

"It is true that drivers are operating without valid PSV licences and covers. Most drivers are conniving and will go to platforms where there is no strict enforcement of laws.

"Taxify is where the masses are, the platform's free-wheeling nature has encouraged unruliness on the driver's side," said an official affiliated to one of the driver associations, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation."Uber has its own standards, which you have to strictly follow, Little is now becoming stricter but drivers are still able to cheat the system," he said.

VALID DOCUMENTSBoth Taxify and Little denied that drivers affiliated to them were operating without valid documents."We have a team that monitors," said Little's founder Kamal Budhabhatti while Taxify Kenya managing director Alex Mwaura said the company stores expiry dates for all their drivers' documents.

"When a document is no longer valid due to expiry our system automatically flags the driver and we then require the driver to submit an updated document," said Mr Mwaura.NTSA director of registration and licensing, Ms Jacqueline Githinji, said it was the mandate of the e-hailing platforms to check the validity of the documents of all its drivers to ensure compliance.

"It is mandatory for all vehicles in the business of carrying passengers to have PSV licence alongside a PSV insurance cover. "Anyone in the taxi business without the required documents is breaking the law and risking the lives of the passengers," she said.

"They (taxi apps) have an obligation to verify the drivers' documents. They have a contract with the drivers and this makes it their responsibility to ensure all the documents are valid.

"There is a way we can also check for them and so there is no excuse." Related Stories

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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Nov 13, 2018
Words:608
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