Columnists

Why ride-hailing needs new rules to drive the industry

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Kenya's ride-hailing industry has rapidly transformed into a thriving ecosystem. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Kenya's ride-hailing industry has rapidly transformed into a thriving ecosystem, attracting both entrepreneurs and enabling residents and citizens to meet their mobility needs.

This dynamic sector, driven by innovation and fueled by the potential for robust revenue, is at a crucial juncture. Positive regulation has emerged as the linchpin that can propel the industry's growth while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders.

There are a myriad of reasons why embracing positive regulation is vital for Kenya's ride-hailing industry.

It serves as a guardian of consumer rights, setting benchmarks for service quality, fare transparency, and efficient dispute resolution mechanisms. By instilling confidence in the industry, these rules encourage more people to adopt ride-hailing services.

Furthermore, they mandate that such platforms obtain explicit user consent before collecting and processing data, ensuring transparency and privacy protection.

Implementing robust data encryption and security measures becomes obligatory, shielding consumer information from breaches and unauthorised access.

Companies that fall short of data protection requirements face penalties, reinforcing their commitment to safeguarding user information.

Safety and security standards mandated by positive regulation inspire ride-hailing firms to invest in cutting-edge technologies that enhance passenger safety.

Innovations such as advanced driver monitoring systems, real-time GPS tracking, and emergency response features become industry norms, elevating the overall passenger experience.

These features have been part of the measures that ride-hailing companies have incorporated in their ecosystems in efforts to ensure both driver and passenger safety.

Regulatory bodies can further encourage firms by offering rewards for adopting eco-friendly practices, promoting environmental sustainability alongside technological advancement.

With streamlined regulations in place, it establishes stringent standards for driver and vehicle screening, meticulously verifying their qualifications, trustworthiness, and vehicle safety standards.

This comprehensive approach fortifies passenger safety by ensuring that only qualified and dependable individuals operate within the ride-hailing ecosystem.

As a result, passengers are imbued with a heightened sense of confidence in the services, knowing that they are entrusting their well-being to thoroughly vetted drivers and safe vehicles.

This commitment to safety is not only a cornerstone of the industry but also a vital factor in fostering trust and continued growth within the ride-hailing sector.

Ride-hailing services have emerged as catalysts for revolutionising urban mobility, ushering in a new era of transportation accessibility.

The role of positive regulation in this transformation cannot be understated, as it acts as the driving force behind the seamless integration of ride-hailing with public transportation systems.

By harmonising these services, positive regulation not only mitigates urban congestion but also elevates the overall mobility experience for residents.

The writer is head of public policy for East and Southern Africa, Bolt.