Taxi operators and boda boda riders in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County have said the new cost of fuel as released by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, is going to render the majority of them jobless.
George Kiarie, a taxi driver in Kitale CBD said that the high cost might force them to raise fares and as a result, most of their customers will opt for other alternative means of transport which are relatively cheap.
“We are going to lose our customers because the rise in the cost of fuel means we will have to increase our charges for taxi services. Most of our customers will not adjust and that means we will have no business in this town,” Kiarie said.
The worried driver said the hike in fuel prices will also have a ripple effect on other commodities.
“The cost of living will go up. We will not be able to afford basic commodities and that means some families will break down; that is the danger of this hike” he added.
Martin Barasa, a boda boda rider, said already some of their daily customers have resorted to trekking because of the slight adjustments they did to their transport cost.
“A customer who used to pay forty shillings will not accept to pay fifty shillings. S/he will opt to wake up early, walk and use the 40 shillings to shine their shoes,” Barasa said.
He said many of the riders might also engage in criminal activities once they are rendered jobless by their bosses.
“If you tell your boss that we reduce the daily remittances, he or she tells you we would rather suspend boda boda services until such a time when fuel prices will stabilize. As we speak, some youths are now jobless and because they have to fend for their families, they will do everything possible to get something for their dependants,” he noted.
Another rider, Joshua Kiprotich, said some of the riders will not be able to service their loans and risk losing their motorcycles.
“Some of us have boda boda loans. Failing to service the loans as expected means we are going to lose our motorcycles. It is that dangerous,” Kiprotich said.