Taxi-hailing company Bolt has accused some of its competitors of engaging in mischief leading to its woes in the industry.
The firm which has been beset with issues surrounding breaches of regulations as well as passengers’ safety and comfort, now says it has successfully had its licence renewed early this week by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).
The management of the company instead blames unnamed competitors for not playing by the rules.
“All of us have different plans and strategies to make things work. Player A might think that if player B is not there I can easily take that app. So it’s typical in any industry and so these things show up in very interesting ways but we are not saying that that person is out to get Bolt, No. But we are also alive to the fact that some of these things happen,” Linda Ndungu, Bolt Country Manager, said.
Transport regulator NTSA had declined to renew Bolt’s licence over a number of alleged breaches, which included illegal commission charges and booking fees. The firm however believes there is more to this than meets the eye.
“The regulations state there was no point that our licence was cancelled. Strictly if you look at regulations, one month before licences expire, you go through an audit, you apply you are audited; the regulator points you to specific sections of the regulations you have to abide by,” Bolt Public Policy Manager, Kenya, George Abasy stated.
“And this also happens to our competitors too. So when we were asked to fix these, there was the mischief that our licence has been declined. There was a lot of mischief but we appreciative all feedback that will improve the sector.”
Before its licence renewal, the firm had suspended its controversial 5% booking fee, in what was seen as a step to resolving concerns around commission charges.
The taxi-hailing firm has endured a myriad of challenges ranging from driver complaints on operation costs, alleged violations and driver misconduct.
“There is some feedback that is not necessarily true or constructive, so some things come up and we need to look at where it is coming from and why. I am sure you know our industry is very competitive and not all of us play above board,” Ms. Ndungu added.
Bolt says it has enhanced its driver relations and is addressing their concerns having launched a Driver Engagement Centre to ensure effective management of driver issues.