More than 200 drivers said the automated system Bolt was using as a decider “is ruthless, cruel and flawed”. File picture: Saurabh Das/ AP
More than 200 drivers said the automated system Bolt was using as a decider “is ruthless, cruel and flawed”. File picture: Saurabh Das/ AP

Bolt drivers claim they are being blocked by the e-hailing company

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Aug 13, 2020

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Cape Town - Bolt drivers claim they are being blocked by the e-hailing company for transgressions they say are beyond their control.

In a letter sent to Bolt by more than 200 drivers, they said the automated system Bolt was using as a decider “is ruthless, cruel and flawed”.

“We operate in a very scary environment. We are scared of criminals who rob, hijack and even kill us. We are scared of the taxi industry that attacks and bully us.

“We also have the issue of traffic cops and the City that impound our cars. As if that is not bad enough we are scared of Bolt. We are scared of losing our profiles because anyone of us can easily be blocked,” the drivers said.

They listed a hostile environment, client ratings and activity score as the reasons for these “brutal” blockings.

They said they were servicing a diverse clientele, some who did not fathom the repercussions of giving a driver a bad rating.

“To base one’s bread and butter on opinions that could be unjustifiably biased is cruel. According to their system, just three times of bad luck with such people can cause permanent blocking no matter what great level of good service, driving and cleanliness one provides,” they said.

They said some of them had been permanently blocked for things they were accused of and efforts had been made to try and explain their side of the story, but to no avail.

Bolt South Africa manager Gareth Taylor said when drivers were found to be in breach of the platform regulations, they engaged with them to ascertain whether a genuine mistake had occurred.

“If an error has occurred, the correct procedures and processes are shared with the driver. If the nature of the misconduct is more severe or is being repeated on an ongoing basis, Bolt’s response is escalated,” he said.

Taylor said it was Bolt’s policy to immediately suspend any driver who was under police investigation. Drivers convicted of a crime were removed from the platform.

“Bolt categorically denies any undue blocking or influence on drivers ‘Activity Scores’ in order to stop drivers utilising the platform,” he said.

Cape Argus

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