NTSA Issues List of Licensed E-Taxi Apps: InDriver, NopeaRide Skipped

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There is a reason that the majority of new startups in Kenya usually focus on payments, e-taxi services, or logistics: these are the modern tech and market segments that make money, which is why there are tens of payments apps, a number of logistics startups and many e-taxi services in the country. It is not a bad thing per se, but just how the market rolls.

Speaking of e-taxi apps, the Kenyan space has been interesting over the years. You can argue that the state has managed to be a lucrative/attractive market for these services, which is why the majority of them have not closed shop. Bolt, Uber, and Little have been here for years. Little, for instance, is expanding its business beyond the East Africa region. Bolt, formerly Taxify, is also solidifying its stand in Kenya, with operations in more than 15 towns locally (higher than its rivals), and an innovation hub in Nairobi that also serves as its regional headquarters. Uber has also been expanding its operations beyond Nairobi, Thika, and Mombasa: it can now be found in Naivasha, Nanyuki, and Kisumu, among other towns. Uber has also launched additional services such as Uber XL and Uber ChapChap Share, which are all geared toward making their services as attractive and affordable to riders as possible.

In July this year, transport regulator the NTSA and the Ministry of Transport issued some new regulations regarding the operation of transportation network companies, including e-taxi apps. These companies were tasked to reduce their commission from driver partners from 25 percent to 18 percent. While others complied, Uber did not do so immediately. The issue escalated till last week when drivers decided to down their tools. To this end, Uber was forced to adjust the rates as directed by regulators. The 18 percent number is now favorable but is still not as low as what Little charges at 15 percent.

The NTSA has also revealed transport network companies (again, read e-taxi apps) that have been licensed in Kenya, effective from October 31, 2022. They are:

  1. Yego Mobility Limited
  2. Uber
  3. Bolt
  4. Little

The list obviously skips other e-taxi apps, including InDriver and NopeaRide, which completes trips with electric cars.

It is not clear whether the unmentioned cab companies will continue their operations, or they will be forced to halt services until the NTSA clears them.

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]