NTSA declines to renew Bolt’s operation license over drivers mistreatment

NTSA Acting Director General Cosmas Ngeso stated that while the authority has received Bolt’s application to renew its operating license, the authority will not do so until a number of issues about Bolt are handled.

Ngeso stated that the NTSA has received multiple formal complaints from drivers and their representatives alleging non-compliance and violations of the Transportation Network Companies (TNC) Owners, Drivers, and Passengers Regulations, 2022.

“The most pressing concerns are in relation to commission charges and an illegal booking fee which has caused significant concern amongst the driver community,” Ngeso said.

Ngesa said NTSA received complaints, along with substantial evidence (attached), that the online taxi company is charging commission rates higher than 18 per cent.

He added that an unauthorized booking fee has also been imposed.

“This is in violation of subregulation (2) (g) of the TNC regulations,” Ngeso said.

The regulations are in place to prevent online taxi service providers from charging their drivers more than 18 per cent commission. The regulation also bars taxi-hailing apps from charging booking fees as additional charges on drivers beyond the commissions.

In light of the complaints made, Ngeso urged Bolt to urgently provide NTSA with a concrete plan of action outlining steps the company intends to take to rectify the situation.

“You are also to provide us the breakdown of the commission rates currently in effect, highlighting specific instances where rates exceed the regulated 18 per cent and a thorough explanation of the rationale behind the commission structure,” he said.

Ngeso also sought that Bolt cease the alleged illegal booking fee and ensure strict compliance with the regulations moving forward.

NTSA also encouraged Bolt to engage in open communication with drivers and driver representatives and other relevant stakeholders to address their concerns and work towards a mutually beneficial resolution.

“Please note that 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,” he said.

Ngeso said NTSA will be available to consider renewing the operating license as soon as the issues highlighted are addressed.

“We look forward to receiving your response and compliance at the earliest convenience,” Ngeso said in a letter addressed to Bolt.

In an email sent to the media by Bolt’s country manager Linda Ndungu said the firm has been fully compliant with the regulations guiding its operations in the country.

Ngungu said the firm is also working to renew its operating license which is set to expire in a fortnight.

“Bolt currently has a license in the market, and continues to work with the regulator in the stipulated license renewal process going forward,” she said in the email.

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