Ulendo, Yango,

By Mwaka Ndawa

THE discourse aimed at crippling the operations of Ulendo Taxis Limited for operating online without a road service licence as a ride-hailing company and disadvantaging other taxi operators in compliance with the law, has escalated into a legal suite.
Ride-hailing refers to an act when a customer orders a customised ride online usually via a smartphone application.


Public Passenger Drivers Association of Zambia secretary general Sydney Mbewe has sued the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and Ulendo Taxis Limited in the Lusaka High Court for failing to abide by the Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002 by allowing Ulendo to carry passengers on public roads at a fee without a road service licence.


Ulendo is a car-hailing company which allows customers to hire a taxi through a smartphone application and the taxi driver takes them to their destination and charges them based on the distance covered, unlike other taxi drivers who place a fixed amount for a specific destination regardless of the distance covered.


On June 16, 2022, RTSA issued a public notice directing vehicle owners who have subscribed to online car-hailing services to obtain road service licences by June 30, failure to which their vehicles will be impounded and they will be prosecuted.
However, Mbewe wants the Lusaka High Court to declare that RTSA has breached its statutory duty by failing to enforce the provisions of Section 102 of the Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002.
He wants an order to compel the agency to enforce the dictates of the law and an order compelling it to make public announcements on radio, television and its social media platform regarding suspension of Ulendo’s operations.
Mbewe also wants the court to permanently restrain Ulendo or its agents from operating online taxis as they are in conflict with the Road Traffic Act by granting his organisation a permanent injunction.
In his statement of claim, Mbewe said Ulendo operates taxis and its services are procured online through an application as well as coordinate other taxis through the online application.


He said RTSA was mandated to issue road service licences to Ulendo and any other persons engaged in the business of operating taxis upon meeting the criteria set out by the law.
“RTSA has not granted any road service
licences to Ulendo that permits it to carry passengers on public roads for a fee,” Mbewe said.
“RTSA is and has always been aware that Ulendo operates and coordinates taxis without a road service licences which permits it to carry passengers on public roads at a fee.”


He stated that he engaged the agency to enforce the provisions of the Road Traffic Act and it assured him that it was addressing the issue but RTSA has up to this date failed refused or ignored to enforce its mandate.


Mbewe said the failure by RTSA to enforce the provisions of the Act against Ulendo was in contravention of the statutory duty imposed on it to enforce the provisions of the road traffic Act.


He said particulars of breach of statutory duty are that RTSA has failed to censure, intervene, or impound the vehicles belonging to and managed by Ulendo for operating without a road service licence and aiding and abetting the operations of Ulendo.
Mbewe contended that his organisation has suffered loss and damage due to the low rates charged by Ulendo against the greed business standards and practice within the industry.
“The plaintiff’s members have been laid off from work by their employers for failure to meet their weekly and/or monthly obligations,” said Mbewe.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. As usual primitive politics against development. You have illiterate taxi drivers who think that they can maintain their jobs by exploiting the unsuspecting innocent customers through fixed abnormal charges caught in their own illiteracy web and now wish to disable a progressive business idea. Stupid idiots.

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