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Bolt opens driver engagement centre in Joburg

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 10 Oct 2023
Bolt SA provides walk-in channel of communication for drivers.
Bolt SA provides walk-in channel of communication for drivers.

E-hailing firm Bolt South Africa has opened a walk-in driver engagement centre to enhance its driver relations and address driver queries and concerns.

According to Bolt, the Randburg, Johannesburg-based centre is a one-stop-shop offeringdriver support, including issue resolution, training courses, effective communication channels, community building, driver appreciation and positive branding.

The centre will be accessed on an appointment basis, to ensure seamless and effective management of driver issues.

It will also serve as a lost and found centre, where passengers can pick up their personal items forgotten in Bolt vehicles during their rides, says the e-hailer.

Most of the driver communication with the company had previously taken place in-app or via the contact centre.

“This announcement is part of the commitment we made earlier this year to invest €500 million (R10.2 billion) in our operations over the next two years to expand and provide better support to our services in Africa,” says Takura Malaba, regional manager, Bolt East and Southern Africa.

“Drivers are at the core of our business, and we want to see them succeed and grow their earnings.

“To further this commitment, we are also recruiting for a community specialist in South Africa, who will have the exciting role of coordinating and executing driver engagement programmes, in collaboration with the local operations teams across all our driver engagement channels.”

Bolt has 100 million customers in 45 countries and serves over 500 cities across Europe and Africa.

The Estonia-headquartered company says it seeks to accelerate the transition from owned cars to shared mobility, offering markets better alternatives for every use case, including ride-hailing, shared cars and scooters, and food and grocery delivery.

E-hailing drivers and operators in SA have over the years held protests, marching to the Gauteng Transport Department to call for the introduction of a regulatory framework that would improve working conditions, safety and wages in the industry.

Drivers also complained of the lack of efficient communication channels between them, the e-hailing companies and transport department.

Bolt says it continues to work on improving the holistic driver experience and providing support needed by drivers to ensure they remain successful in their businesses.

The company adds it remains committed to ensuring feedback received from drivers is implemented in the business.

Earlier this year, Bolt partnered with the Automobile Association (AA), which provides drivers with access to an emergency response service integrated into the app.

When activated, this service shares the driver’s details and location with AA’s 24/7 contact centre and then immediately deploys private security and emergency services.

Drivers also have access to free trauma counselling through Bolt’s service provider, Oaksure, following any traumatic incident while using the platform.

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