Ride-hailing company, Bolt has recently taken significant steps to address safety concerns in Kenya, resulting in the expulsion of over 5,000 drivers within the past six months. This move is part of Bolt’s commitment to enhancing safety standards and compliance on its platform. Operating in more than 15 towns and cities across Kenya, Bolt has pledged a substantial investment of KES 20 million ($130,000) towards safety-related practices.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) had previously urged Bolt to provide a comprehensive plan addressing safety issues raised by both drivers and riders. These concerns ranged from instances of physical assault by drivers to the unauthorized sale of Bolt driver accounts to third parties. Compliance with this directive was essential for Bolt to secure its annual license renewal. In response, Bolt developed a comprehensive safety plan, discontinued the contentious “booking charge” that had sparked disagreements, and expressed its commitment to user trust and well-being.
Linda Ndungu, the Country Manager for Bolt Kenya, emphasized the proactive measures being taken to ensure user safety during every ride. As part of this effort, Bolt is implementing internal measures such as random driver selfie checks, providing training for both riders and drivers, and enforcing strict compliance with immediate suspension for violators. Additionally, the company has improved reporting tools to streamline the process of reporting safety concerns.
In addressing driver dissatisfaction, Bolt acknowledges challenges related to commission rates surpassing the government’s suggested 18%, along with booking fees. Some drivers have been associated with incidents of assault and sexual harassment, which have, unfortunately, impacted the platform’s reputation. Bolt aims to rectify these issues by intensifying efforts to enforce platform guidelines, swiftly applying consequences, including permanent suspension, for any driver or rider found in violation of safety standards or non-compliance. These comprehensive measures underscore Bolt’s commitment to prioritizing safety and fostering a secure environment for both drivers and riders in Kenya.