Bolt works to ease rising cost of fuel challenge for e-hailing drivers

E-hailing service Bolt says it is was sympathetic to its drivers and teams because of challenges caused by SA’s tough macro-economy. Picture via @Bolt on Facebook.

E-hailing service Bolt says it is was sympathetic to its drivers and teams because of challenges caused by SA’s tough macro-economy. Picture via @Bolt on Facebook.

Published Apr 29, 2024


SOUTH Africa’s tough macroeconomic conditions are proving to be a challenge for the multinational mobility company, Bolt, as these affect the cost of living for both the drivers and passengers.

Bolt’s PR manager for Africa, Sandra Suzanne Buyole, told Business Report that they were aware that rising fuel prices were exerting additional pressure on drivers who used the Bolt app to earn an income.

“We are sympathetic to these challenges faced by drivers and our teams are constantly reviewing our prices to ensure drivers can operate profitably and provide great service to passengers,” Buyole said.

The unaudited month-end data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF) last week showed that the price of petrol could rise by around 36 cents per litre, while diesel was predicted to fall by around 30c.

These price adjustments would push the price of 95 Unleaded petrol up to R24.69 at the coast and R25.48 in Gauteng, where 93 Unleaded will rise to around R25.14.

The wholesale price of diesel should fall to about R21.47 at the coast and R22.23 inland, adding a retail margin of at least R2.

Buyole said Bolt was pushed continuously to explore avenues to boost driver earnings and introduce new categories for their flexibility in income allocation in South Africa.

According to Bolt, recent earning opportunities unlocked for drivers included the introduction of Bolt Send for same-day parcel delivery.

The company has also introduced vehicle branding for Bolt Lite vehicles, an initiative to enhance brand visibility and offer drivers an additional income stream through branding incentives.

“Earlier this year we also collaborated with Smart Ops to offer a range of benefits designed to empower and support drivers, such as a fuel advance facility ensuring that drivers are able to drive as much as they would like without petrol being a barrier,” Buyole said.

Meanwhile, last week the Competition Tribunal approved the proposed merger where Vitol Emerald Bidco intended to acquire Engen, subject to a set of competition and public interest conditions following a hearing in March.

The Vitol Group is an independent energy marketing and trading company which supplies and distributes crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas globally.

In South Africa, through its subsidiary, it is engaged in the importation of crude oil and the wholesale supply of refined petroleum products to major oil marketing companies and independent wholesalers/resellers.

Reacting to the tribunal’s decision, the Fuel Retailers Association (FRA) welcomed the approval of the merger.

FRA CEO Reggie Sibiya said their expectation was that the current franchise agreements and lease agreements should remain intact to boost confidence with fuel retailers, but more importantly that these will be improved moving forward.

“We expect a different and positive approach to doing business with fuel retailers from a trader as opposed to current traditional and rigid ways between retailers and oil companies relationships,” Sibiya said.

“We need to see more new players who will treat retailers as partners as opposed to glorified managers who should work 24/7 at very marginal returns. Engen is our largest network and therefore remains critical in the area of job creation in our sector,” he said.