Bolt moves to assure partners and customers over NTSA license renewal

Ride-hailing and logistics platform Bolt has moved to reassure its partners, customers, and the general public that it’s here to stay following reports that the firm’s operating license had not been renewed due to various issues. In a statement, Bolt said that it “would like to reaffirm our commitment to the Kenyan market.”
“Adherence to Kenyan regulations remains a top priority as it is foundational to building a long-term sustainable business that positively contributes to all stakeholders in the ecosystem. We remain open to collaborative dialogue with our regulator, driver partners and the wider public to continually ensure full compliance with regulation and expand income generation within our platform,” read the Bolt statement.
On Wednesday October 11, 2023, the media had reported that the country’s pubic transport industry regulator, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), had declined to renew Bolt’s operating license due to alleged violations of transportation regulations, including unauthorized commission charges and booking fees.
According to the reports, Bolt had requested a license renewal as its current one is about to expire at the end of October 2022, a year after it was issued. As per the reports, the NTSA had declined the request from Bolt for license renewal, citing mounting complaints from drivers and their representatives regarding non-compliance and rule violations.
“In a letter to Bolt’s country manager, Linda Ndungu, NTSA’s deputy director, Cosmas Ngeso, requested a plan from Bolt to address the breaches. NTSA also demanded Bolt provide commission rate details and stop charging the alleged illegal booking fee. Failure to renew the license would be a setback for Bolt, which entered the Kenyan market in 2016 as Taxify. NTSA claims to have evidence of Bolt’s violations and expects compliance before the October 28 expiration date,” the media reported.

However in its rejoinder, Bolt said that during its “tenure of over seven years in the market,” it had actively sought input from both government as well as driver partners, to ensure that it remains within the guidelines provided by the government.”

“As such, Bolt currently has a valid license and is fully operational. As part of the ongoing annual license renewal process, we will continue to work closely with the regulator for a fruitful result… Last year, in fulfilment of the licensing requirements, Bolt was issued with a Transport Network Company license, effective 28th October 2022 and has been fully compliant with the stipulated regulation to cap its commission rate at 18% for drivers using our application. To ensure efficiency on our platform and the continued innovation and enhancement of our technological features, Bolt charges a fixed percentage booking fee that is paid by the passenger,” Bolt sought to clarify in its statement to the media.

The ride-hailing platform further went on to highlight some of its significant milestones in the recent past, as well as future plans. In 2024 for example, the Bolt business in Kenya has a planned investment of 100 million euros in the market to further increase its footprint across the country by expanding services into more cities and urban centres.

Bolt also recently set up its Driver Engagement Centre in efforts to enhance its driver relations and address issues faced by drivers in their daily operations. The driver engagement centre is located at 6th floor, Delta Chambers in the Westlands area and is accessed on an appointment basis to ensure seamless and effective management of driver issues.

“We continue to provide additional support through our Driver App as well as via our online platforms. Over and above the existing features on our Driver App, we continue to meet with our driver community and driver groups from time to time and are also constantly working on the holistic driver experience, to provide the support they need to be successful in their businesses… Ultimately, we remain confident that we will continue to provide affordable and convenient services for passengers across the country whilst simultaneously providing earning opportunities to many Kenyans,” the firm added.


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