What fate for Uber, Bolt as uncertainty grows?

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam. Uncertainties continue to plague the provision of ride-sharing services in the country following government regulatory changes that were effectively enforced from March this year.
The unprecedented changes announced by the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) have increased fares and reduced commissions for ride-sharing operators providing transport services in the country.
The decision prompted Uber to suspend operations in April, while Bolt, which continued to provide services, decided last month that its services would be available to corporate passengers, blaming the environment for “losses”.
But, while the government has engaged service providers in the deliberations, taxi drivers have voiced concerns about life hardships due to loss of jobs and income as a result of business difficulties created by the amendments. of regulation.

Apart from the loss of jobs and revenue for taxi operators and service providers, the government also loses significant sums in terms of taxes and fees paid to Latra.
Speaking to The Citizen, a taxi operator, Ms Margaret Maro said the current situation has forced her to look to another business.
“During the two years of operations in service delivery, I was generating between 50,000 and 100,000 shillings a day. The trend convinced me to get a loan, buy another car in order to expand the business which I was operating through Uber,” she said.
“But, the recent changes have negatively impacted the flow of income in my pockets, thus failing to repay the loan. “Last year I sold one of my cars and ventured into another business in the Kariakoo region,” she added, advising the government to create an enabling environment that will create more jobs for the citizens.
But, another taxi operator, Mr Khalifan Juma, said a number of drivers lost their jobs after the cars they were driving were taken away by their owners.
“The pilots are those who were directly affected by what happened. Indeed, in addition to job loss, those who are operational face a severe drop in revenue generation,” he said.
“Our future is unknown as some drivers have switched to other service providers who however are unfamiliar to customers which is making the situation worse,” he added.
But, an experienced passenger, Ms Adelina George said the use of technology has dramatically transformed commuter urban transport due to its convenience and speed.
“The government should work on the challenges associated with ride-sharing companies to restore services provided by the most used companies (Uber and Bolt),” she said.
But, the President of the Tanzania Drivers Online Association (Tadoa), Ms. Neema Mushi, said ride sharing business is currently tight in Tanzania. “The country has over 5,000 taxi drivers who have been registered in the app and depend on the company to run their lives,” she said.
“Ongoing meetings between the Lands Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) and the ridesharing companies have yet to resolve the issue as both parties have planned to convene a meeting today,” he added.
According to him, carpool drivers are of the opinion that the revenue received by service providers should be reduced to 15%, compared to 28 and 30% currently.
Furthermore, she said the ongoing controversy denies revenue to the government, implying that on average drivers pay 250,000 shillings in tax and 35,000 shillings in Latra fees per year.
But, Latra managing director Habibu Suluo said yesterday that the two sides were still deliberating on the issue: “It is a business-related issue. The public will be informed of the conclusion.
However, Serengeti Byte COO Mr Michel Mallya asked for patience as the government takes steps to protect customers and other stakeholders including drivers and car owners.
“However, the government should understand the technical and commercial aspects of carpooling.
It should also learn best practices from other markets to enable them to make informed decisions creating a level playing field for all stakeholders,” he said.
On the other hand, he said that demographic and urbanization projections offer potential for the rise of carpooling activities in the country.

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