Bolt recently received $24 million from the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to promote access to on-demand mobility services in emerging economies and empower women riders and drivers by improving their access to safe and affordable transportation and creating new economic opportunities.
Bolt is currently piloting a ‘Women Only’ ride-hailing category in South Africa – a new service aiming to address safety needs and improve women’s mobility by connecting female drivers with female passengers.
According to Markus Villig, CEO and Founder, Bolt, “We are looking forward to partnering with IFC to further support entrepreneurship, empower women and increase access to affordable mobility services in Africa and Eastern Europe. Together with the investment from the European Investment Bank last year, we are proud to have sizeable and strategically important institutions backing us and recognising the strategic value Bolt is providing to emerging economies”.
The funding will be targeted towards Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, and African markets, such as Nigeria and South Africa.
Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC Senior Vice President of Operations, said: “Technology can and should unlock new pathways for sustainable development and women’s empowerment. Our investment in Bolt aims to help tap into technology to disrupt the transport sector in a way that is good for the environment, creates more flexible work opportunities for women, and provides safer and more affordable transportation access in emerging markets”.
Bolt has introduced a new ride category on its platform dubbed Bolt Green which offers eco-friendly rides as the company moves towards reducing its ecological footprint.
The category will have hybrid and electric cars to reduce emissions during trips taken on the Bolt platform thus offering greener transport options. It will attract similar rates as the Bolt Base category, with a minimum fare of KES 300.
“We continue to scale up our operations for the benefit of our customers and the communities in which we operate. Having electric and hybrid vehicles on our platform is a step towards ensuring environmentally conscious ways for people to move around in the city and reduce our ecological footprint,” said Ola Akinnusi, Country Manager at Bolt.
“The new category also aims at expanding Bolts ride options thereby creating more economic opportunities for drivers and providing passengers with more options to choose from,” he added.
Bolt Green is currently available to Bolt customers in Nairobi with plans to expand to more cities soon. Passengers will be able to choose the new ride-type when they order a car in the Bolt app at no extra cost.
Other Bolt services will still be available to customers at the same affordable rates across the sixteen urban centers where Bolt currently operates. The company offers the widest array of ride-hailing options at the most affordable prices in the market and continues to have steady growth in operations driven by the demand for its quality services.
“Our core business is to provide reliable, safe and affordable transportation services to everyone and we are excited to make travel easier and smarter across the country. We are humbled to offer Kenyans more choices to move smartly in cities,” said Mr. Akinnusi.
Bolt Green forms part of the company’s global environmental strategy called ‘Green Plan’ meant to reduce its environmental footprint through carbon offsetting and by bringing scooters, electric cars and other environmentally friendly transport options for people to move in cities.