NTSA sets tough rules for taxi apps

Mombasa County leaders during the launch of Taxify app for tuk-tuks in Mombasa. [Kelvin Karani/Standard]
Taxi hailing service providers will pay up to Sh500,000 to operate if a proposed law comes into force.

This is according to new regulations proposed by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) spelling out tough conditions for ride-hailing companies and drivers.

The regulations will require companies such as Uber and Taxify to pay Sh500,000 to register for a digital hailing service operator licence that will be renewed annually for Sh300,000.

Further, each vehicle in operation will be required to pay Sh3,500 annually and an additional Sh1,000 for a badge to be worn by drivers.

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Permanent office

Conditions to be licensed as ride-hailing service providers include establishing a permanent office in Kenya and a binding agreement with drivers detailing contractual obligations that meet labour laws.

“A person desirous of being licensed as a digital hailing service operator shall…comply with labour laws and regulations including in respect to statutory deductions, health and safety of the workplace, Work Injuries Benefits Act, No. 13 of 2007, insurance, statutory leave days and written contracts of employment for digital hailing service operator staff,” the regulations say.

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The rules could be a big win for drivers of taxi hailing firms who have raised concern about poor working conditions and low earnings.

Drivers will operate a maximum of eight hours a day in place of the current arrangement where some drivers can work round the clock seeking higher commissions.

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They will also require a valid digital hailing service licence as well as a certificate of good conduct and wear a public service vehicle identification badge and photo.

“Each digital hailing service vehicle shall be equipped with a hands-free accessory for mobile devices, a standard first aid kit, fire extinguisher and life saver kit,” the regulations read.

Drivers will also be required to present a copy of their Kenya Revenue Authority PIN certificate and a tax compliance certificate.

This comes in the wake of mounting calls by regulators including KRA and Communications Authority of Kenya for new policies to tax digital service providers including taxi-hailing apps.

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