The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) will not renew taxi hailing firm Bolt’s operation license, citing alleged violations of transportation network regulations.
In a letter to Bolt’s country manager Linda Ndung’u, NTSA’s Deputy Director, Cosmas Ngeso, said that the license won’t be renewed until these breaches are addressed.
Bolt had requested a new license as their current one, issued on October 28, 2022, was set to expire after only 17 days. NTSA claims that Bolt violated the Transportation Network Companies (TNC) Owners, Drivers, and Passengers Regulations, 2022.
NTSA further asserts that Bolt has been deducting extra fees from their customers, aside from the commission, which is prohibited on all taxi-hailing apps.
“The Authority is not able to proceed with renewal of your operator license until the issues raised by drivers and their representatives are satisfactorily addressed and rectified,” Ngeso said.
Responding to these allegations, Ms Ndung’u explained that Bolt charges passengers a “booking fee,” which contributes to enhanced technological features for improved service efficiency.
“Bolt charges a fixed percentage booking fee that is paid by the passenger,” she said. “The booking fee assists with covering support and enhanced technological features that ensure an even more efficient service on our platform.”
As of now, Bolt operates in 16 towns in Kenya and entered the Kenyan market in 2016. Additionally, Bolt provides services in five other countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, and Tunisia.
Bolt remains a popular choice among Kenyan commuters and has significantly impacted the country’s taxi-hailing industry since its establishment.
The decision by NTSA not to renew Bolt’s license is poised to affect the ride-hailing sector in Kenya, raising questions about regulatory compliance within the industry. It remains to be seen how Bolt will respond to these allegations and work to satisfy the NTSA’s concerns.