The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Ghana has directed ride-hailing startups to pause the collection of digital transport fees. It made this known in a press release dated April 5, 2023.
Part of the memo reads, "the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) has observed reactions and concerns towards implementation of the Digital Transport Guidelines, particularly with respect to fees charged by Digital Transport Operators and given various descriptions such as "Digital Transport Fee" "Booking Fee" among others. All Digital Operators are to immediately cease collecting such fees."
In March 2023, the DVLA formally introduced an updated Digital Transport Services Guidelines. As part of the changes introduced, ride-hailing services in the country were expected to add an extra 1 GH¢ to every trip. That change, expected to come into force on April 1, 2023, has met with pushback from users in Ghana.
Consequently, the DVLA has reversed the decision adding that subsequent changes will be done with stakeholder input taken into consideration. The Digital Transport Fee was not the only change made in the Digital Transport Services Guidelines as ride-hailing companies were also required to share certain data pertaining to trips taken on their platforms.
Some of this data include driver name and licence number, date of transaction, departure and arrival time stamps, vehicle registration number, and trip distance among others. Collecting this data, the DVLA says, will enable it to accurately track the taxes that ride-hailing companies are expected to remit. In addition, it is tasking ride-hailing companies with verifying passenger identities using the Ghana card. However, this throws up data privacy concerns. In 2021, data related to 700,000 Ghanaians were exposed after the National Service Secretariat suffered a database misconfiguration.