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Bolt responds to NTSA’s rejection to renew its operating licence in Kenya

By Hilary Kimuyu October 11th, 2023 2 min read

Taxi hailing company Bolt has faulted the Kenyan transport regulator for its decision to reject the ride-hailing company’s bid to renew its operating license in Kenya.

Bolt had written to the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) seeking the renewal of its operating license, with days left to its expiry.

But the regulator declined the request, citing mounting complaints from drivers and their representatives about alleged non-compliance and violation of regulations.

But in their response, NTSA deputy director and head of licensing Cosmas Ngeso wrote to Bolt country manager Linda Ndungu last week, informing her that the company has to address the breaches satisfactorily or lose the license.

In a statement on Tuesday, October 10, Ndungu explained that the company had complied with all relevant regulations allowing it to operate in Kenya.

Ndungu said that Bolt fully complied with NTSA’s Transportation Network Companies (TNC), Owners, Drivers, and Passengers Regulations, 2022, and stipulated licensing requirements.

“Bolt has been operating as a fully compliant operator as per the National Transport and Safety Authority (Transport Network Companies, Owners, Drivers, and Passengers) Regulations 2022 and the stipulated licensing requirements by the industry regulator, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA),” said Ndungu.

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“Bolt was issued with a Transport Network Company license, effective October 28, 2022, and has been fully compliant with the stipulated regulation to cap its commission rate at 18 percent for drivers using our application.”

Bolt’s statement came hours after NTSA declined to renew its license to operate in Kenya, citing allegations of non-compliance with the Transportation Network Companies (TNC), Owners, Drivers, and Passengers Regulations of 2022.

“Please note that the Authority is not able to proceed with the renewal of your operator license until the issues raised by drivers and their representatives are satisfactorily addressed and rectified,” said Mr Ngeso in the letter to Bolt on behalf of NTSA director-general George Njao.

NTSA says Bolt has been accused of breaching the provisions of Transportation Network Companies (TNC), Owners, Drivers, and Passengers Regulations, 2022, with the “most pressing concerns” relating to commission charges and an “illegal” booking fee.

The regulations bar taxi-hailing apps from deducting customers any other charge apart from the commission.

The firm operates ride-hailing and delivery services in six African countries— Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and Tunisia— with over 47 million customers and 900,000 drivers on the platform.

Not getting a license renewal will deal a blow to Bolt, which entered Kenya in 2016 as Taxify.

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