What is the fate of Uber, Bolt as uncertainties rise?

What you need to know:

  • Apart from the loss of job and income to ride-hailing taxi operators and service providers, the government also loses significant amount in terms of tax and charges paid to Latra.

Dar es Salaam. Uncertainties continue to crowd the ride-hailing service provision in the country following the government’s regulatory changes that were enforced effectively from March this year.
The unprecedented changes announced by the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) raised fares and cut commissions for the ride-hailing operators providing transport services in the country.
The decision prompted Uber to suspend operations in April, while Bolt that continued to provide services decided last month that its services would be available to corporate passengers attributing to causing “losses” environment.
But, as the government has been engaging service providers in the deliberations, drivers of ride-hailing taxis have voiced concerns over life hardships due to loss of jobs and income following the business hardships created by the regulation changes.

Apart from the loss of job and income to ride-hailing taxi operators and service providers, the government also loses significant amount in terms of tax and charges paid to Latra.
Speaking to The Citizen, a ride-hailing taxi operator, Ms Margaret Maro said the prevailing situation has forced her to shift to another business.
“During the two years of operations in services provision, I used to generate Sh50,000 to Sh100,000 per day. The trend convinced me to secure a loan, procure another car in order to expand the business I was operating through Uber,” she said.
“But, the recent changes have adversely affected the income flow into my pockets, therefore failing to service the loan. “Last year, I sold one of my cars and ventured in another business at the Kariakoo area,” she added, advising the government to build enabling environment that will create more jobs to citizens.
But, another ride-hailing taxi operator, Mr Khalifan Juma said a number of drivers have lost jobs after the cars they were driving were taken by owners.
“The drivers are the ones who have been directly affected due to what has happened. This is because apart from loss of employment, those who are operational are facing serious decline in income generation,” he said.
“Our future is unknown as some drivers have shifted to other service providers that are however not familiar to customers therefore worsening the situation,” he added.
But, an experienced passenger, Ms Adelina George said the use of technology has significantly transformed urban commuter transport due to its convenience and time friendly.
“The government should work on the challenges associated with ride-hailing firms in order to restore the services provided by the most used companies (Uber and Bolt),” she said.
But, the Tanzania Drivers Online Association (Tadoa) chairperson, Ms Neema Mushi said the ride-hailing business was currently tense in Tanzania. “The country have over 5,000 ride hailing taxi drivers who have been registered in the application and depend on the business in running their lives,” she said.
“Ongoing meetings between service the Lands Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) and ride-hailing firms haven’t resolved the matter yet as the two sides have scheduled to convene a meeting today,” he added.
According to him, ride-hailing drivers are of the view that revenue taken by service providers should be reduced to 15 percent from current 28 and 30 percent.
Furthermore, she said the ongoing controversy denies revenue to the government, hinting that on average drivers pay Sh250,000 tax and Sh35,000 Latra fees annually.
But, Latra director general Habibu Suluo said yesterday that the two sides were still deliberating the matter, “This is an issue related to business. The public will be informed upon conclusion.”
However, the Serengeti Byte chief operations officer, Mr Michel Mallya asked for patience as the government is scaling measures to protect customers and other stakeholders including drivers and car owners.
“However, the government should understand the technical and business aspects of ride-hailing.
It should also learn the best practices from other markets to enable them make well-informed decisions in creating levelled playground for all stakeholders,” he said.
On the other hand, he said population and urbanization projections provide potential for ride-hailing business booming in the country.