Bolt SA on track with job creation target

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 15 Jan 2024
Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar, Bolt head of public policy for East and Southern Africa.
Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar, Bolt head of public policy for East and Southern Africa.

Bolt South Africa says it is on track with its employment creation target which is expected to see the e-hailer pave way for job opportunities, particularly for local youth.

This, after the company announced plans last year to introduce upskilling initiatives aimed to create around 30 000 jobs for youth over the long-term.

This emerged following a meeting, at the time, between South African government officials and Bolt’s executive delegation, led by founder and CEO Markus Villig, to discuss several issues namely regulation, safety and job creation in SA’s e-taxi industry.

Providing an update on the company’s job creation endeavours, Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar, Bolt head of public policy for East and Southern Africa tells ITWeb the company is accelerating its programmes to create more employment opportunities for new drivers to access its platform.

Over the next few years, the company is looking at adding thousands of employment opportunities across its two business units: e-hailing and electric scooter rentals, he notes.

“At Bolt, we believe that micro-mobility and shared mobility have the potential to greatly impact South African cities by increasing economic activity and supplementing transport options for people.

“We have recently finalised a collaborative partnership with local partners that will look to introduce 2 000 vehicles over the next two years on the basis of a rent-to-buy model that will enable young people to access economic opportunities, but also have a pathway towards vehicle ownership,” he explains.

According to Gasnolar, the new vehicles will be kitted with liquid petroleum gas functionality – where drivers will save between 25% to 40% on their traditional fuel costs and also result in the reduction of carbon emissions, he points out.

“The carbon emission reduction is important as we journey towards enabling green mobility solutions in South Africa, and Africa at large. We have ambitions to increase these numbers through vehicle financing partnerships across the country, and also with multi-lateral organisations.”

Ride-hailing services in SA have seen significant growth over the last few years, with Bolt now garnering over 45 000 drivers on its platform since its local launch seven years ago.

On the African continent, the company says it now has over one million drivers servicing over 47 million customers. Globally the company has over 100 million customers in more than 45 countries.

“We are excited about the partnership opportunities on green mobility, but also financing and up skilling opportunities that will unlock entrepreneurial opportunities for young people and women.”

As a commitment to drive more participation and inclusion for women in technology, Bolt launched a six-month-long internship programme last year called, Outternship to offer female candidates an opportunity to kick-start their career in roles that challenge them to think outside the box in the different departments such as Operations, Public Relations, Marketing, Public Policy, Bolt Business and Bolt Food.

Bolt has also partnered with the Gauteng Government to carve out earning opportunities for drivers in untapped markets across the country, for shorter trips (under 4km).

The company is also looking at partnering with other top businesses that will help it unlock benefits for driver-partners, to help them reduce their running costs, while also implementing its shared mobility strategy.

“We are also creating a sustainable means for drivers to access vehicles and eventually own them at the end of the rental term. Secondly, we are always looking for ways to increase earning opportunities for our drivers.

“We see huge amounts of potential for growth and impact in South Africa. We are currently piloting a range of initiatives to help our cities ‘leapfrog’ several steps forward. These include sustainability, secondary vehicles, electric and hybrid vehicles and data-sharing with African cities,” concludes