inDrive has responded to calls for its banning in Botswana following complaints by local public transport operators.

On September 26, members of the Botswana Kombi and Taxi Association asked the Department of Road Transport and Safety (DRTS) to ban the ride-hailing platform inDrive. The taxi association claimed that inDrive, launched in Botswana in December 2019, is operating without the necessary licences.

While Kombis and taxis in Botswana pay operating fees to the DRTS, inDrive has sidestepped those fees as most of its drivers use their own cars. Their use of private cars means they don’t fall under the mandate of DRTS which specifically regulates public transport. The taxi association argues that inDrive operators should be subject to the same regulations; the DRTS confirmed that it is investigating the complaint. 

inDrive told TechCabal that it is aware of the complaints levelled against the service. “The Ministry of Transport in Botswana currently does not have a specific registration requirement for companies operating under this particular mobility category,” Vincent Lilane, the company’s business development rep for Southern Africa, said. “However, once such regulations are established, inDrive is fully committed to complying with all registration and operational standards.”

Lilane added that although inDrive has not received formal notice of the complaint from the DRTS, it is in talks with the relevant stakeholders to address the complaints. The taxi association also filed a complaint with the Botswana Police Service, asking that inDrive drivers be charged for piracy. Piracy is the operation of public transport services without licensing from DRTS. “We are currently in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, including the Botswana Police Service, to establish clarity around our operations,” inDrive said.

inDrive launched in Botswana in December 2019 and has recently proven to be a hit with drivers and commuters. It is currently the only ride-hailing platform available in the country. For drivers, the attraction is the fact that the platform still does not charge a commission for rides while for commuters, the service provides an alternative to expensive and unreliable public transportation.

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