High demand for ride-hailing cars with Covid-19 protection measures by healthcare workers
DURBAN - The demand for ride-hailing vehicles with additional Covid-19 physical protection measures has surged according to ride-hailing company Bolt.
The surge is due to healthcare and essential services workers and their employers choosing to use these specialist ride-hailing vehicles, rather than public transport.
The Bolt Isolated Car was launched in Johannesburg during March 2020, with an initial 500 vehicles.
"Vehicles have a protective barrier installed between the front and back seats, providing a physical shield between the driver and their passenger, limiting the airflow between the drivers and riders inside the cars," said Gareth Taylor, country manager for Bolt in South Africa.
This category costs the same as a regular Bolt ride, despite the extra safety measures and limits on passenger numbers.
In order to meet escalating passenger demand for these vehicles, Bolt boosted the number vehicles registered on the platform that have these protection measures to 3000, and expanded the service offering beyond Johannesburg to Cape Town and Durban. According to Bolt, the South African city that has the highest demand for Isolated Cars is Durban.
"We anticipate that Bolt Isolated Cars are likely to be even more popular under Level 3 as Covid-19 lockdown conditions relax and more South Africans are able to return to work – many of them concerned about using public transport due to social distancing fears," said Taylor.
The company will be doubling the number of vehicles by subsidising the installation of the protection measures in a further 4,000 vehicles registered on the Bolt platform.
Taylor said he anticipates continued demand specifically from healthcare, laboratory and other essential services workers, but also from workers in sectors that can start work again under Level 3, and they or their employers do not want to or cannot use public transport.
To ensure that Bolt cars are safe for passengers to use and that drivers can maintain hand and vehicle sanitisation protocols required by the Department of Health, the companty offers free sanitisation liquid refills at all its driver centres daily,
It is also mandatory for drivers and passengers to wear face masks, passengers must sanitise their hands on entering the vehicle, and drivers are required to ventilate and sanitise the car between every trip.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE