Bolt has restricted its services to corporate clients only in Tanzania. This, according to the firm, is due to the regulatory environment, which is putting undue strain on the sustainability of its operations in the country.
The country’s Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) implemented a contentious 15% service order free for ride-hailing operators in March of this year. The fee went into effect on Friday, April 13th.
Bolt has disputed the fee and has even stated that it may close its operations in the country. It went ahead and even requested a meeting with the relevant stakeholders to further discuss these regulations, but it now claims that the discussions have taken longer than expected.
“Bolt has no choice but to mitigate against the losses in the market until it sees a considerable improvement in the regulatory ecosystem,” the company said in a statement.
Bolt made its first foray into Africa six years ago, in 2016, about three years after it was founded in Estonia. It quickly expanded into Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria, and within four years, it had displaced Uber as the largest ride-hailing platform in Africa.
Since the beginning of 2020, the company has tripled its customer base to over 100 million, added over 2 million new drivers to the platform, and more than doubled its workforce to over 3000 employees.
“The pandemic was the biggest economic shock in generations, so hitting milestones like 100 million customers and operations in over 500 cities are achievements we’re really proud of. ‘’ Markus Villig, CEO and Founder, said.
“When Bolt was first founded, our mission was to challenge the traditional taxi industry in Tallinn through a new ride-hailing service. Our size and the range of products we offer put us in a unique position to revolutionize how people move around cities. By providing an alternative to private cars, we can help create cities that are greener, safer, and more pleasant to live in.’’
“It’s important to stay grounded though – rising levels of inflation and interest rates mean we have to be disciplined when assessing how and in what markets we invest. This could mean prioritising growth efforts in our existing markets instead of expanding our services into new countries. Our culture of frugality helped us come out of the pandemic in a strong position, but the challenges are not going to stop and the team is focused on preparing for and responding to them”, Villig added.
Bolt currently has operations in 45 countries and over 500 cities across Europe and Africa now.