NEW RULES

Uber, Bolt among taxi apps ordered to get licences or get off road

New rules: Uber, Bolt among taxi apps ordered to get licences

In Summary

•All international digital taxi firms will have to pay an application and renewal fee of Sh500,000.

An illustration picture shows the logo of Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign.
An illustration picture shows the logo of Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign.
Image: REUTERS

Digital taxi owners will now be required to acquire three-year renewable licences to continue operations.

In the new rules announced on Tuesday by Transport CS  James Macharia, digital hailing services including Uber, Bolt will not be operational without a valid operator licence  issued by the authority.

All international digital taxi firms will have to pay an application and renewal fee of Sh500,000.

 

Drivers on other hand have to part with Sh500 for application and renewal of digital hauling badge.

Moreover, only firms that are legally recognised in Kenya and have a valid  binding agreement between the operator and the vehicle owner are viable for a licence.

According to Macharia's directive, any person applying for a licence for a digital hailing service vehicle must have a tax compliance certificate from KRA, a standard form of contract between the driver and the owners of the vehicle and a certificate of registration as a body corporate.

"A digital hailing service operator must ensure that any vehicle whose digital hailing licence is suspended or revoked by the authority, cannot access the digital hailing platform during the period of suspension or revocation upon communication from the authority," Macharia said.

He said, that owners of the firms must ensure that all vehicles under the digital hailing service platform have valid insurance covers.

All vehicles must therefore have valid certificate of worthiness affixed at the back.

According to the new rules, before commencing a trip all digital hailing drivers must provide their passengers with information about the vehicle make and model, registration number, driver's name photo and the estimated fare rates.

 

The drivers in the taxi hailing business are also barred from working for more than eight consecutive hours in one day.

This means drivers who work continuously from morning to evening could lose their licences.

On commission limitation, the new rules dictate that digital hailing service operator should not charge a commission of more than 15 per cent per trip or levy charges above the commission.

This is likely to calm drivers who have on many occasions gone on strike to protest exploitation by app owners.

Currently, most firms operating in the country are charging a commission of at least 20 per cent, with Uber slashing drivers' pay the highest at 25 per cent.

In September, Bolt (formerly Taxify) which was charging the least commission of 15 per cent raised it to 20 per cent.