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Zambia: E-Hailing Regulations published

17 May 2024
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Overview

  • The Zambian Minister of Transport and Logistics issued the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations, 2024 (E-Hailing Regulations) earlier this year to regulate the E-Hailing industry.
  • An important new requirement in the E-Hailing Regulations is the need for a road service licence to be able to register as a driver on an E-Hailing application. This requirement was previously reserved for taxicabs.
  • The penalty for breaching the E-Hailing Regulations, in the case of a first offence, is a fine not exceeding ZMW 400 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months and, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, a fine not exceeding ZMW 1 200 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.

Zambia, like many other African countries, has seen an increase in the use of online ride-hailing services (E-Hailing).

Until recently, the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 2013 (Regulations), were designed for conventional taxi operations. These Regulations did not accommodate E-Hailing, where an individual could simply register their private vehicle for use on an E-Hailing application without the concern for regulation. Consequently, any attempt to regulate E-Hailing has been seen as an attempt to stifle innovation and the ability by individuals to earn an extra income.

Despite these sentiments, the Minister of Transport and Logistics issued the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations, 2024 (E-Hailing Regulations) earlier this year to regulate the E-Hailing industry.

The E-Hailing Regulations require (amongst others) operators of E-Hailing applications to ensure that an E-Hailing application:

  • can estimate distances, fares and time and communicate the estimates to the passenger electronically, in advance;
  • communicates the final fare to the passenger electronically at the conclusion of a trip;
  • provides motor vehicle registration details;
  • provides details of the driver of the motor vehicle, including the name, national registration card number, and phone number, to the passenger;
  • records details of a registered passenger including their name and phone number; and
  • works at all times.

In addition, operators of E-Hailing applications may only register a private vehicle (private hire taxi) after the owner or any person using the private vehicle has submitted the following:

  • a certified copy of a public service vehicle road service licence for the private vehicle or taxicab;
  • Zambia Police Service clearance certificate for the driver of the private vehicle;
  • information relating to the private vehicle’s owner and driver’s residential address and contact details;
  • copies of the national registration cards of the owner of the private vehicle and the driver; and
  • a copy of the registration certificate of the private vehicle.

An operator of an E-Hailing application may not register a private vehicle where the above information is not submitted, or where the driver of a private vehicle is or has been convicted of an offence under any written law and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than six months without the option of a fine.

An important new requirement in the E-Hailing Regulations is the need for a road service licence to be able to register as a driver on an E-Hailing application. This requirement was previously reserved for taxicabs and exposes E-Hailing drivers to regulation under the Regulations.

Further, the E-Hailing Regulations also require RTSA to issue an identity certificate for a private vehicle, and the owner of the private vehicle is required to display the certificate on the inside of the front windscreen of the private vehicle.

Where a road service licence relating to a private vehicle expires, is suspended, or revoked by the Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA) an E-Hailing operator will be required to suspend the use of the private vehicle from operating on the E-Hailing application until a valid road service licence is obtained.

In what appears to be an effort to lighten the regulation of E-Hailing, the E-Hailing Regulations have exempted private vehicles from certain provisions of the Regulations, such as having a reflective coloured ribbon on both sides of a vehicle, an illumination lamp on the roof of the vehicle, designated area for parking and having a driver’s badge, amongst other things.

The penalty for breaching the E-Hailing Regulations, in the case of a first offence, is a fine not exceeding ZMW 400 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months and, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, a fine not exceeding ZMW 1 200 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.