In a bold move, digital taxi drivers and car owners in Kenya have come together to demand the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) not to renew the operation licenses of popular ride-hailing apps Uber and Bolt for the year 2023-2024. The drivers, representing various ride-hailing associations, expressed their concerns during a press conference held in Nairobi on October 27, 2023.
Uber, an American company, and Bolt, an Estonian entity, entered the Kenyan market in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The drivers have accused these foreign companies of flouting crucial regulations outlined in the Transport Network Companies, Drivers, Passengers, And Vehicle Owners Regulations, 2022.
According to industry spokesperson Wycliffe Alutalala, these companies have failed to comply with several regulations, including proper registration, charging excessive booking fees, and neglecting driver safety. Alutalala pointed out that both Uber and Bolt have continued their operations without verifying the identity of passengers adequately, raising serious concerns about the safety of drivers and vehicle owners.
Zakaria Johana, acting secretary general of the Ride-Hailing Transport Association, emphasized that the ride-hailing giants have suspended and removed drivers from their platforms without adhering to the required protocols. The drivers have given the NTSA a seven-day ultimatum to ensure that Uber and Bolt comply with the existing regulations. Failure to do so, they warn, will lead to a nationwide strike organized by digital taxi drivers across the country.
The Kenyan taxi drivers’ united stand underscores the importance of enforcing regulations within the ride-hailing industry, ensuring fair practices, passenger safety, and the protection of drivers’ rights. The outcome of this demand will significantly impact the future landscape of ride-hailing services in Kenya. Stay tuned for further updates as this story develops.