E-taxi apps are everywhere now in an industry that was popularized by Uber.
Kenya hosts a number of them, including the said Uber, Bolt, and Little Cab. Others exist too, but they are not as known as the big three.
These apps make money in a variety of ways, and one of them includes the commission they receive from their driver partners.
A few years ago, citing economic hard times, the apps collectively increased their rates, meaning drivers had to dig deeper into their pockets to remit their commission to the digital taxi apps.
Now, the rates have been adjusted again following an intervention from Kenya’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.
According to the Transport Cabinet Secretary (CS), all e-taxi driver partners will remit 18 percent trip commission to their digital taxi operators.
Little, for instance, charges 15 percent, which is the lowest among its rivals. Others such as Uber charge as high as 25 percent.
The development is in the form of new regulations, which, in part, state as follows: The commission which shall be paid by a transport network driver or a transport network owner to the transport network company, which shall not exceed eighteen percent of the total earnings of the trip.
It further clarifies: A transport network agreement shall not include terms or conditions designed to increase the commission payable by a transport network driver or transport network owner such that it exceeds eighteen percent of the total earnings per trip
As said, e-taxi driver partners have never really been on the same page with their ‘employers.’ They have been engaged in squabbles from time to time, and most of the drivers have even downed their tools at one time.
It should be noted that the new regulations do not affect traditional taxi services or other kinds of arrangements such as limousine services.
The new regulations define e-taxi apps as follows: a “transport network platform” means a digital platform or any other similar system offered, used, or operated by a transport network company and used by persons for the transportation of passengers for compensation by a transport network driver.
Uber has since expanded its Kenya operations by launching in four major towns, including Naivasha and Kisumu.
Bolt has the largest network in the country, as it operates in 16 towns. The company has also opened a regional office in Nairobi that will serve as a nerve centre for Africa operations.
It will be interesting to see how the apps will respond over the next couple of weeks. Any development will also be updated on this site.