Wait, wait… this post is not affiliated with that song[1].

I can say life has really changed over the past few years thanks to the wonderful advancements in technology. If you met me around 7 years ago and I told you that I’d randomly used a cab from the Nai CBD to home, we’d have laughed off that ‘joke’ and proceeded to discuss other matters. Reason? The word ‘Taxi’ seldom passed my lips and us campus dudes rarely used it in a sentence. OK maybe I shouldn’t generalize; I hear in Kenya when you say things like “Manze si hii Njaanuary tumesota!”, my friend you only speak for yourself. Did you see how bars/clubs were packed last month? Your Snapchat[2]/IG timeline was still poppin’ every Friday unlike you. Haha, I digress …

MY experiences with cabs those years back was either ICE (In Case of Emergency) or from town to Electric Avenue in Westy during party nights & vice versa (and splitting the bill heavily). The latter was also mainly due to the girls & their sultry dressing.💃 Also, you’d fit 6 passengers excluding the driver in a 5 passenger vehicle. A story for another day.

Gone are the days you’d cringe when you heard a Taxi guy ask for Kes. 1000 to drive you for 2Km followed by a rude statement “Boss huko ata tunaendanga na elfu mbili” and he’d look away like you’re the one begging for work. 😑 Yes, millennials reading this, 1000 bob was quite a lot 10 years back. The odds of finding a good reasonable cab guy back then were probably equal to thinking Leicester[3] would ever win the EPL. On that note, thank God for our guy Mwas. Another story for another day.

Come 2017: If you’ve used Uber (or the other taxi-hailing apps), you really know the perks associated with their services. Tremendously advantages. Reasonable price, flexibility, convenience, comfort, service, only to name a few… I won’t dwell so much on those. Nowadays, guys get cabs to go almost everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Feet are sore – Cab, Sun is too hot – Cab, Luggage – cab, Bar – Cab, Home-to-work and vice versa – cab, cake to deliver – cab. Hospital – cab, too drunk to drive – cab. Etc …

Now before I’m labeled a ‘brand ambassador’ by those of you eagerly waiting for me to share my Uber promo code 😅, Lemme talk about some experiences I had during the December holiday… The month where we milk our wallets dry. If they had an Uber contest that month, a trophy to give or a raffle (I’ve never won anything good in a raffle😟), I’d have probably made the top 20.

Uber everywhere.

So meet Johnnie, cool, laid back guy (most Johnnies are). From the pick-up request, very clear in his communication, tells you his location, asks politely where you are. If he says he’ll be there in 5min, he’s there in 4. If you’re in female company, the dude even opens the back left door for you guys. Observes all road rules, the car is clean, smells fresh and is well maintained. Soft music in the background, Johnnie is a good conversationalist but prompts you with questions like “So Ian, plans for Christmas?” to start the conversation. He knows his way around town, you reach your destination, pay him, he accepts MPESA, and you even tip him. You see him give you a 5 star rating and you reciprocate almost immediately.

Meet Wayne, very sharp fellow. Observes almost all the above, plus he’s very street smart. You can tell from the speed and the chuoms he uses to get to your destination. He’s probably 27 or younger, judging by his hyperactivity, the music from his stereo and the flickering light from his Bluetooth earpiece. He has his Google Maps on in case he gets lost; the earpiece is to listen to that nice ‘lady’ telling him to “Turn left onto Ole Dume Road in 100m”. Very talkative fellow too… If you look hung-over, he’ll dare go ahead and indulge you in raw conversations about the things he sees in his cab especially during the revel hours between Midnight and 3AM. Very interesting conversations. You arrive, he reminds you politely to rate him. “Later bruh” he says and whizzes off. He’s dope; he gets a 4 or 5.

There’s Kamau, old chap, probably a former K.T.C.A(‘Yellow Cab’) member who defected when he learned he can make good cash and not go out of business like his fellow compatriots. He’s been in the Taxi biz for 10+ years & he’s very experienced on the road. Only fallback is, technology. I honestly think Kamaa needed a bit of training in using Maps and/or android apps before all this. Before pick-up, y’all spend around 5min with the “Uko wapi” calls. He’s very polite though and apologizes, even tells you where he falls short in one of those “Unajua sisi bado ni analog” talks. You feel bad for the old bloke and give a fair rating. 3-4

Jane. Wow, a female driver! I really got excited about my 1st female driver and yes you guessed it, I sat in front 😁. Probably made her fret some more and drive nervously at a constant 60Kph velocity, but I still enjoyed the ride. Jane was cool. 4 stars.

Samuel. Samuel is okay but he loves ‘his’ car so much. His ‘KCM 888R’. You show up with 3 passengers, “My car can’t carry excess”. Excess?  If your pick up location is somewhere hilly, “Ah, gari haiwezi panda hapo”. You can see him literally jump up his seat as he maneuvers around the potholes. They loathe Eastlands. A LOT… One even told me that if they’re doing drop-offs there, they switch off the app, so that they don’t receive requests. The discrimination!! Haha. Our roads are getting fixed though. I usually ‘forget’ to rate these ones. Or give a reluctant 3. 🙄

David. David is very impatient, veeery. In his first call, there’s noise in the background and Daudi doesn’t even bother to seek a quieter place. You already tell he is rude since he didn’t even say hello. Just “Ati unasema uko wapi?” or “Si ukuje hapa Odeon ju hapo uko nitashikwa” or “Na sasa nishapiga hio turn siwezi rudi”.The journey is usually uncomfortable AF because you’re always in a hurry when you meet these ‘Davids’. You just wanna get there. When you do, this idiot will tell you he doesn’t have change when you give him a 1000bob.🤔 Ugh. Worse off when they insist (and I mean really insist) that you give them 5 stars and you realize kumbe they can be polite. Ha! 5?! Joker much…

Finally meet Washington. With such a huge name you’d expect so much, right? On the contrary… Greedy and cunning mofo. 1st, most of them don’t have airtime on their phone. He calls, 3 seconds, line disconnects, waits for you to call back …

If you request for his cab and fail to show within 5 min, do the apps allow duplicity? This guy goes ahead & picks up another client. When you call him, he has the audacity to say that he went to fuel and is gonna be back in 10 min. These are the worst especially if they see your pick-up is at a bar/club and assume you’re inebriated. These liars forget that also on your end, you can see the little car icon move away from where you are. They also lie about where they are, and how long they’ll be where you are. I had a case where I cancelled on his ass and hailed another cab, but no, “Ian, ndio mimi hapa nimeingia” he said. “Boss, hio app yako haionyeshi nimecancel ride?” I politely replied. Back and forth for like 5-7 min (I am a very patient person). Eventually, Washington agrees to stop bothering me if I send him the ‘cancellation fee’ to his MPESA as consolation. Oh my… what? *Angrily writes email to support and reports driver*

Another one was so conniving that when I reached the destination (after constant complaints of the bad Eastlands roads), the imbecile pretends that he forgot to start the journey on his app and so the ‘meter’ wasn’t running. So? He estimates the fare himself,rounds off the figure and now wants cash…

Ask me what happened next sometime…

*************************************************************************************

 

 

[1] The older generation is probably unaware which song I’m talking about. Yes, old! 🤣

[2] Haha, you guys again…

[3] Ok, What do you know!

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15 thoughts on “Uber Everywhere

  1. Funny, Ian.
    You’re lucky, though. We rural area residents don’t have Uber. We have Nduthis. 😔

    Have you ever been on a Nduthi on a dirt road? Horrible.

  2. Haha brand ambassador. I loathe the Davids my God. They can frustrate your whole life😢.
    But honestly our lives have improved a great deal. thanks to technology. I hope itafika kisii asap because we are still being overcharged by the taxi guys😰.

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