The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has refused to renew Bolt’s operator’s license renewal. This decisive action comes after multiple formal complaints from drivers and their representatives regarding non-compliance with the Transportation Network Companies (TNC), Owners, Drivers, and Passengers Regulations, 2022.
“This Authority has since received several formal complaints from drivers and their representatives regarding alleged non-compliance and violations of the provisions of 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.” wrote NTSA.
Hence, the Authority has swiftly demanded a detailed plan of action from the company, outlining steps to rectify the situation. This plan must include a breakdown of current commission rates. Further, it should highlight instances where rates exceed the regulated 18%, and a comprehensive explanation of the commission structure.
Moreover, Bolt is required to cease imposing the illegal booking fee and ensure strict compliance with the regulations moving forward. Secondly, it should have open communication with drivers and their representatives.
Notably, NTSA has made it clear that it cannot proceed with the renewal of the operator’s license until the issues raised by drivers and their representatives are satisfactorily addressed and rectified. The denial of the license renewal stands as a clear consequence of the company’s failure to comply with regulations.
However, not all is lost for Bolt. NTSA states “We will be available to consider renewing your license as soon as these issues are addressed.”
Bolt’s Troubles Precede License Renewal
The denial of license renewal is perhaps the biggest blow to the Estonian firm’s troubles. In June this year, the taxing hailing company was implicated in the kidnap of Ciku Muiruri’s daughter and a friend. This incident led to eight days of a search mission that was successful.
The e-cab company had introduced safety measures for passengers in April and has always reminded customers to make use of the features.
However, the troubles facing the firm cut both ways. Only, last month a Bolt driver was allegedly assaulted by a passenger in Syokimau. The lady driver was injured in the incident.
On the 18th of August Cabinet secretary for Roads and Transport, Kipchumba Murkomen, received a petition from drivers of digital hailing companies. The CS took note of their complaints and promised to take action. He also promised to convene a meeting with industry stakeholders.
Notably, the drivers complained about the pricing mechanism and the low rates set by the taxi app companies. Secondly, the drivers had requested to have open channels to air grievances and get resolutions. A per NTSA’s statement, these same issues appears to be the nail that has temporarily crucified Bolt.
For now, Bolt’s status as one of the 14 approved e-taxi apps remains in jeopardy.