The Kenyan transport regulator, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) declined to renew the operation licence for Bolt. They refused on the grounds of alleged breaches and transport network violations.
Bolt is a cab or taxi-hailing company that has been dealt with many scandals in recent days. The company wrote a letter to NTSA seeking renewal of their licence, with few days left until its expiry.
The NTSA Deputy Director, Cosmas Ngeso, wrote a letter to Bolt’s country manager declining the licence renewal. He cited complaints from drivers and their representatives about the alleged non-compliance and violation of regulations. He mentioned that the licence would be renewed if they addressed the breaches attributed to them.
“Please note that the Authority is not able to proceed with the renewal of your operator license until the issues raised by drivers and their representatives are satisfactorily addressed and rectified,” said Mr Ngeso as quoted by Business Daily.
The current licence was issued on October 20, 2022, and will expire on the same date this year. They only have 17 days left until their licence expires. Once it expires, they are not allowed to carry out functions in the country.
Violations of the Company
The NTSA accuses Bolt of violating the Transportation Network Companies (TNC) Owners, Drivers, and Passengers Regulations, 2022.
NTSA also claims that Bolt has been deducting other fees from their customers in addition to the commission, which is prohibited on all taxi-hailing apps.
“In light of these, we urgently request you to provide us with a concrete plan of action outlining steps your company intends to take to rectify this situation.”
In response to the allegations, Ms Ndung’u stated that Bolt charges their passengers a “booking fee,” which aids in providing efficiency support.
“Bolt charges a fixed percentage booking fee that is paid by the passenger. The booking fee assists with covering support and enhanced technological features that ensure an even more efficient service on our platform,” he said.
Bolt currently offers services in 16 towns after opening for business in Kenya in 2016. Bolt is operational in five other countries besides Kenya which are Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, and Tunisia.
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In addition to that, there have been growing theft and insecurity cases associated with the application. There have been instances where ladies were not driven to their intended destinations or items stolen by the drivers from the company.