Bolt South Africa plans to add 4 000 vehicles that offer extra COVID-19 protection measures to its platform under alert level three of the nation-wide lockdown.
This comes after the ride-hailing company introduced the “Bolt Isolated Car” service in Johannesburg in March, with an initial 500 vehicles.
After the launch, Bolt increased the number of cars to 3 000 before the end of May, expanding the service beyond Johannesburg to Cape Town and Durban.
According to Bolt, demand has surged across South Africa for ride-hailing vehicles with additional COVID-19 protection measures.
This surge, it says, is due to healthcare and essential services workers and their employers choosing to use these specialist ride-hailing vehicles, rather than public transport, to get to and from work safely.
“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,” explains Gareth Taylor, country manager for Bolt in SA.
Bolt says the isolated car service category costs the same as a regular Bolt ride, despite the extra safety measures and limits on passenger numbers.
“We anticipate that Bolt Isolated Cars are likely to be even more popular under level three 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,” adds Taylor.
Taylor 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 three, and they or their employers do not want to or cannot use public transport.
“Bolt has responded quickly throughout the lockdown period to create solutions that have helped essential services workers get to work safely, while also ensuring drivers using the platform continue to earn an income,” he says. “The company’s recent successful funding round will further support our plans to expand our services and our footprint, to further meet South Africans’ transport needs.”
Droppa Express expands
Meanwhile, truck and bakkie e-hailing platform Droppa has expanded its express delivery service beyond the initial 25km radius.
Last month, the e-hailing platform introduced Droppa Express, an express delivery service of goods such as food, parcels, books, stationery and other smaller items less than 25kgwithin a 25km radius in 24 hours.
Droppa Express is now able to courier lightweight goods nationally from Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
Droppa CEO Khathu Mufamadi explains: “We have identified a growing need for express courier services at a time when there is the rapid imposition of social distancing and the restriction of movement amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that express delivery services have a critical role to play. We aim to ensure South Africans can access this service at affordable rates.”
Delivery bookings can be made via the company Web site or the Droppa app, which is available as a free download on Android and iOS platforms.