Kenyan digital taxi drivers threaten to disable all mobile apps

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 18 – The Digital Taxi Forum (DTF) on Friday threatened to disable all email apps within seven days if the government fails to issue the Digital Taxi Regulations (TNC Rules 2022) which was passed by the Senate in 2019.

If passed, the regulations proposed by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) will, among other things, prohibit operators of digital telephone services from charging a commission of more than 15%.

Speaking at a press conference, DTF General Secretary (SG) Wycliffe Alutalala said the failure of transport cabinet secretary James Macharia to publish the digital taxi regulations had led to serious suffering for drivers and car owners who have long spoken out against injustice. schemes by international carpooling companies.

“It is unfortunate that a year later, CS Macharia has refused, neglected, refused or ignored to publish the Regulations for reasons they know best,” SG Alutalala lamented.

“We hereby issue a 7 day notice to the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Transport, James Macharia, to publish the Digital Taxi Regulations. In the absence of an official publication, we are issuing a notice of nationwide boycott and disabling of all apps i.e. Uber, Bolt, Little Cab and any other apps operating in Kenya,”

Furthermore, he reiterated that “the strike, once started, will continue indefinitely until the regulations are published in the Official Gazette.”

Pauline Njeru, DTF Partner Representative, said that “the longer the regulations remain published, the more difficult it is for drivers to operate and for Kenyan investors to support local email apps as they cannot compete with the low prices offered by Uber and Bolt”.

“We at SG have encouraged other drivers and car owners across the country to be prepared for a long stop and to stay off the road during the strike period,” he said.

If passed, the law would also require international digital taxi companies to establish a subsidiary in Kenya and pay an application fee of 500,000 shillings and an annual renewal fee of 300,000 shillings.

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Uber and Bolt, through a letter to the Department of Transportation dated November 29, 2021, had opposed the 16% commission cap, noting that it was “discriminatory and discourages investment in the industry.”

Casey J. Nelson