Bolt blocks over 6,000 drivers for misconduct in SA in bid to improve ride-hailing industry safety

The company said this is part of the organisation’s strong focus on rider and driver safety. Picture via @Bolt on Facebook.

The company said this is part of the organisation’s strong focus on rider and driver safety. Picture via @Bolt on Facebook.

Published Jun 8, 2024


Bolt, the popular on-demand mobility platform in Africa, said this week that it has taken strict measures to ensure safety on its platform.

The company said this is part of the organisation’s strong focus on rider and driver safety.

Bolt announced it permanently blocked over 6,000 drivers from its platform in the past six months due to non-compliance and safety-related matters.

“This move is part of Bolt’s ongoing commitment to providing top safety infrastructure within the ride-hailing industry. The company will continue to permanently block drivers and riders who have been reported for misconduct from accessing the platform. These operational measures aim to amplify customers' safety features and trip experience on its platform,” Bolt said in statement.

Acting Head of Regulatory and Policy Africa, Weyinmi Aghadiuno, said: "At Bolt, maintaining the highest standards of safety and trust is paramount. We understand the trust our customers place in us, and we are taking proactive steps to ensure their well-being during every ride. We believe that one incident is too many, and we want to ensure that our platform consists of top-rated drivers.”

Bolt said blocking drivers due to non-compliance was just one step taken by the company.

The company further said it has in place other key measures designed to create a safer ride-hailing experience for drivers and riders, such as:

Enhanced Safety Measures: In response to driver and rider feedback, Bolt has developed several safety features such as:

Emergency assist: through a partnership with the Automobile Association (AA), Bolt offers an emergency response service in its app that shares driver details and location with AA’s 24/7 contact centre, deploying security and emergency services immediately.

Both drivers and passengers can share trip details and ETA with trusted contacts.

By using the ‘Trip Audio Recording’ feature, drivers and riders can initiate audio recordings during trips for safety, which can be reported to Bolt’s Customer Support.

Bolt said it is testing rider verification, requiring new customers to take a selfie and upload an ID, which Bolt verifies before allowing ride orders.

Bolt introduced Trip Monitoring, which works by proactively engaging with riders and drivers in-app when a vehicle remains stationary for an extended period.

To use this feature, no action is required; Bolt will activate a prompt for you to check if everything is okay, and you will be required to click on the “Yes, I am okay button” should there be no concern.

Stricter Compliance Measures:

In addition to the driver screening process, where drivers undergo a background check before being able to drive on the Bolt app, the company has also intensified its efforts to enforce platform guidelines. Any driver or rider found violating safety standards or non-compliant will face swift and decisive consequences, including permanent suspension from the platform.

Dedicated 24/7 Support: When safety incidents occur, riders and drivers receive support from an in-house, specially trained, high-priority safety team. Bolt has enhanced its safety features to facilitate improved detection and provide clear, user-friendly prompts for riders and drivers. All incidents are investigated, and the team is dedicated to resolving reported issues promptly and prioritising the safety and well-being of all customers on its platform.

Driver and Rider safety awareness actions: Bolt regularly educates drivers and riders about safety through its various communication channels, which can be easily accessible on the company's driver and rider safety pages. This aims to raise awareness about safety best practices, emphasising the importance of respectful and responsible behaviour on the platform and highlighting the how-to of using the in-app safety features.