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Relief for Uber, Bolt Drivers as Gov’t Caps Commission Fee at 18 Percent

Digital taxi drivers can breathe a sigh of relief after the government lowered commission fees paid to the apps. The drivers will now be required to pay a maximum of 18 percent in commissions to the apps which include Uber and Bolt.

“The commission which shall be paid by a transport network driver or a transport network owner to the transport network company, which shall not exceed eighteen per cent of the total earnings of the trip,” the new law says.

According to the rules published by Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, the 18 percent cap also applies to the commission paid by vehicle owners registered to the digital apps.

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The decision comes amid several strikes by drivers on the ride hailing apps. Among the issues commonly cited are high maintenance fees, low fares and high commission rates. Prior to the announcement by the government, the app drivers paid a maximum of 25 percent as commission fees to the respective apps. Most recently, the drivers have complained about the increase in fuel prices, which has greatly affected their income.

The regulations do not apply to organizations or businesses that offer limo services, street-hailing taxi cab services, or other types of transportation organized differently except through a digital taxi app.

“In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires—“transport network platform” means a digital platform or any other similar system offered, used or operated by a transport network company and used by persons for the transportation of passengers for compensation by a transport network driver,” the new law said.

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According to the new regulations, transportation businesses must apply for new licenses and disclose information about, among other things, revenue-sharing agreements, registration with the Data Commissioner, pricing arrangements with subscribers, and contracts with vehicle owners.

“Each transport network company and transport network vehicle that was in operation before the commencement of these Regulations shall continue to operate for a period of ninety days within [within] which they shall be required to acquire the necessary licenses (sic) provided for under these Regulations,” the new regulations read.

The regulations also bar the digital taxi apps from increasing the commissions to exceed the 18 percent cap.

“A transport network agreement shall not include terms or conditions designed to increase the commission payable by a transport network driver or transport network owner such that it exceeds eighteen percent of the total earnings per trip as required under sub-regulation (2) (g)” the new regulations further say.

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