The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has licensed nine more online taxi operators, bringing the total number of licensed companies to 14 in just five months. The new companies licensed are An Nisa Taxi, Hava Net, H Cab, PTG, TMNK, Amicable Travel Service, Maramoja, Move On Telecoms and J-Ride.
The regulations, which were gazetted in June 2022, required each cab-hailing company to pay an annual fee of Ksh 100,000 for an operating license and to be registered by the Data Commissioner as a data collector or processor. The companies are also required to enter transport network agreements with motor vehicle owners and licensed drivers stipulating the roles of each in the agreement.
The regulations also require the companies to provide a panic button in their digital platforms which will be connected to a response center. Each transport network company shall provide a panic button with appropriate response for the drivers and passengers in the digital platform which shall be connected to a response center which will be manned at all times. Before commencing a trip, the companies are required to provide passengers with information that includes the make and model of the vehicle, the vehicle’s registration number, the name and photo of the driver, and the estimated fare prior to a customer accepting the ride.
The regulations also require the firms to put in place a system to verify the identity of each passenger. At the end of each trip, the companies are required to provide a printed or electronic receipt to the passenger detailing the rate of the trip, the date and time, where the passenger was picked and the where they were dropped, the name of the driver, particulars of the vehicle, and the duration and distance of the trip. The companies are also required to restrict drivers to eight-hour shifts using a system that automatically logs out the driver at the end of that duration.
Taxi drivers are not allowed to carry any other person without the consent of the passenger during a trip, and they are also required to put in place a system that passengers can use to retrieve any items they may have left behind after a trip. Drivers of the taxis are also not allowed to drive while intoxicated and smoke or chew miraa inside the vehicle. The regulations also introduced an appeal mechanism to the Transport Licensing Appeals Board that has been in place since 2012.
The increasing number of licensed online taxi operators in Kenya signals a full-throttle interest in the industry, and the regulations that have been put in place are aimed at improving safety and service quality for both drivers and passengers. The companies are required to oversee the vehicles and drivers under their respective fleets, ensuring that drivers’ licenses are valid and that vehicles are insured and roadworthy. The regulations also capped the commission paid to the companies by the drivers at 18 percent of the amount earned from each trip.