Uber launches in Mombasa, Kenya’s port city hours after driver was attacked in Nairobi

Just hours after an Uber driver in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city had his taxi torched, the second of such incident in a month, the ride-sharing service has launched in another Kenyan city.

“We’re really excited to be launch[ing] Uber in Mombasa, giving locals and visitors in Mombasa an affordable, easy and flexible choice to move around the city safely and reliably,” said Nate Anderson, acting General Manager for Uber Kenya.

The technology company noted that Mombasa’ natural beauty has always made it a popular tourist destination attracting local and international visitors, apart from the city also being Kenya’s cultural and economic hub. However, the company is concerned about the safety of its drivers who have been subjected to attacks, usually by local taxi drivers who complain that the taxi hailing company is driving them out of business. Uber spokeswoman Samantha Allenberg told Kenyan news platform nation.co.ke  that the company was “engaging with authorities and working to understand more” about the latest incident which saw an Uber driver flee a gang of criminals who later burned his car.

“Any situation where driver or rider safety is put at risk is unacceptable to us. Safety, reliability and choice, not violence, are what continue to draw people towards Uber’s driver-partners as well as alternative transportation service providers,” Allenberg said.

According to Kenya’s Standard Digital, the vehicle was burnt down on Tuesday night in Riruta area in Nairobi by four men who had been waiting for it. The Police had quoted the driver to have said that he picked a customer from Yaya Centre area in the city to Riruta where he was to pick a woman but four men emerged instead of the woman when they got there and attacked the car, damaging it before they burnt it.

But like it has been at other cities where it has faced persecution, Uber remains resilient and believes in its growth prospects in Kenya.

To celebrate its launch, Uber is giving all riders in Mombasa the opportunity to enjoy six days of free rides.