Kenyan Taxi Drivers do Communist Praxis


I'm in Nairobi, and trying to catch a cab here generally involves negotiating the price down from about 1.5 times San Francisco taxi rates. Uber here, meanwhile, is about 1/3 San Francisco rates. As far as I can tell, the Uber rates approximate what drivers take locals around for.

So while Uber charges a flat rate, regardless of who you are, Kenyan taxi drivers charge a rate that loosely correlates to your perceived income. This is ultimately progressive and redistributive.

It's also crazy annoying when you're a white US American. And while I want to support workers against the neoliberalizing machine, I find it hard to stomach paying double the "going rate."

Uber is amazingly adept at restructuring labor economies. In Africa, this takes on a neocolonial flavor. The taxi drivers are apparently protesting Uber a few times a month, bringing Nairobi traffic to a standstill.

So I took a boda back here. That's the back of a motorcycle, named as such because they used to be the usual way to cross the Kenya-Uganda border. The helmet didn't have padding, I tied the strap in an overhand knot, and realized halfway through that the driver was in warp drive (no headlight, hazard lights on). I'm not dead yet.