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NTSA Denies Bolt’s License Renewal; Bolt Reaffirms Commitment to Kenyan Market

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The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) recently declined to renew the operating license of Estonian ride-hailing giant, Bolt, over alleged breaches, including illegal commission charges and booking fees. 

The decision, which comes just days before the expiration of Bolt’s current license, represents a significant setback for the company as it had been preparing to expand its reach in the Kenyan market.

Bolt had sought the renewal of its operating license by writing to the NTSA, but the regulator has refused to grant the request. The decision was made based on the growing number of complaints from drivers and their representatives regarding what they allege to be non-compliance and violations of regulations by the ride-hailing company.

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According to reports by Business Daily, NTSA Deputy Director and Head of Licensing, Cosmas Ngeso, wrote to Bolt Country Manager Linda Ndungu, informing her of the regulator’s decision. 

Mr Ngeso’s letter stated that the NTSA would not proceed with the renewal of Bolt’s operator license until the issues raised by drivers and their representatives were satisfactorily addressed and rectified.

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“In light of these, we urgently request you to provide us with a concrete plan of action outlining the steps your company intends to take to rectify this situation,” read the letter.

Bolt’s current license, issued on October 28 last year, is set to expire in just 17 days. However, the NTSA’s decision has put the renewal process in jeopardy, pending the resolution of the alleged non-compliance issues.

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In response to the NTSA’s decision, Bolt has reaffirmed its commitment to the Kenyan market and its intention to resolve any compliance-related issues. The company emphasized that adhering to Kenyan regulations is a top priority and essential for building a sustainable business that benefits all stakeholders within the ecosystem. 

Bolt expressed its readiness for collaborative dialogue with regulators, driver-partners, and the public to ensure full compliance with regulations and to expand income opportunities for drivers using its platform.

“Over the past seven years, Bolt has actively engaged with both government authorities and driver partners to remain within the regulatory guidelines provided by the Kenyan government. Currently, Bolt holds a valid license and continues its operations. The company has also been compliant with regulations, including capping its commission rate at 18% for drivers using its platform. To enhance platform efficiency and support further innovation, Bolt charges passengers a fixed percentage booking fee,” the firm noted via a press release.

Looking ahead, Bolt has ambitious plans for its business in Kenya in 2024. These include a substantial investment of 100 million euros in the market to expand its services into more cities and town centres, thereby increasing its footprint across the country. 

Additionally, Bolt has recently launched a Driver Engagement Center to enhance relations with its drivers and address their daily operational challenges.

Bolt stated it remains confident that it will continue to provide affordable and convenient services for passengers across Kenya while offering income-generating opportunities for drivers. 

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Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu is a Tech enthusiast, happy to delve deeper into the African tech space covering Social Media, AI, Startups, Telcos, Cryptocurrency, Big Data, Women in Tech and all matters Tech. Write to me @[email protected]

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