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Kenyan taxi drivers and car owners seize Twitter’s carpooling to make money

It all started as a way of helping stranded passengers get to work and back home as public service vehicles (PSV) switched off their engines in protest at “new and more punitive traffic laws”, but five days into the strike #carpoolke is now a way to make money for taxis as well as private vehicle owners.

 

FERDINAND OMONDI ‏@FerdyOmondi
#CarpoolKe : If we ‘help’ stranded pedestrians, and then charge them KSh500, doesn’t that dilute the ‘help’ element?

Here is just one of the complaints posted on Twitter as the samaritan carpooling hashtag is slowly becoming penetrated by commercial elements out there to make a kill. Worse still is the fact that the hashtag exposes the location and level of desperation of the ‘to be victim’.

@bmf_ny

Really in need of a ride to Thika from Kahawa. Been stranded since 7am.#CarPoolKE [email protected]

@beckieBash
Stranded at fedha,@KenyaRedCross anyone on this route#CarpoolKE

With such messages, a taxi driver on Twitter can target such a passenger, with the desperation of the message determining the cost.

However, others are just benefiting from a rather opportune moment. Private car owners are charging double the normal fare. The fare from Imara Daima to the airport would normally be between KSh30 and KSh50, but this particular car owner would charge more than KSh100.

@ElijahMiano#carpoolKE Imara peeps to the airport. Tutoke 6:30am 1sok per person.

According to the unaudited statistics, by Saturday the hashtag had been able to pool together 1032 cars, a number expected to have been easily surpassed given that today is a working day.

The no of#carpoolKE tweets with rides who [email protected] reached 1032 by yesterday x3 Passengers [email protected]@mokayah

However, for schools and colleges, which are currently seeing students sit exams, the strike is a nightmare. A number of them have joined the #carpoolke hashtag, while a number of the institutions have released their vehicles to pool students stuck in the city centre.

@[email protected]: “CUEA bus will be in town at KICC at 12 noon for those who have an exam in the aft’noon.#CarPoolKe”@keri_nah

But as Kenyans learn to cope with the situation the fear that criminals could penetrate social media, targeting mostly women, remains rife. Many of those using the pool cannot hide this worry.

Crazy Kenyan ‏@CrazyKenyan_
Guys be careful while carpooling, car-jackers taking advantage and posing as stranded passengers#CarpoolKe

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