Ride hailing app Bolt has signed a deal with Zuru,a car rental app to enable cab drivers registered with Bolt hire cars from Zuru.
The arrangement seeks to fill the gap left by lack of sufficient cars to match the high number of qualified drivers that are registered with Bolt.
“We have thousands of drivers but we lack the cars to give them, and Zuru should help us plug the deficit with a lot of flexibility,” said Felix Antwi, supply growth lead for Bolt Africa.
Zuru allows Kenyans to list their cars for hire across the country while helping travelers to book and drive those cars for their journeys. Zuru aims to help match Kenya’s 10million licensed drivers and the 3 million cars on Kenyan roads in a bid to leapfrog car ownership.
Vehicle supply challenges continue to be a key bottleneck for ride hailing apps with the operators currently relying on bank financing to help plug the deficit. But with interest rates on the upward swing, bank financing is proving expensive
Under the arrangement, Bolt drivers will log into the Zuru website or app, and hire cars which they shall then use to drive for Bolt for a specified period of time.
“The first ever deal between car rental sector and ride hailing in Kenya will help increase the shared mobility economy in the country helping to further foster efficiency in the transport sector,” said Zuru CEO and cofounder Rawlings Otini.
According to Zuru, car rentals offer quick, affordable and flexible access to cars on demand without the added concern of servicing bank loans and car auctions that come during times of economic difficulties.
Bolt is seeking to enhance their operations in Kenya and the continent having opened their Africa office in Nairobi earlier this month.
The arrangement will see Bolt drivers rent the vehicles at negotiated prices on the platform to help them run a profitable venture. It will also help to remove mistrust between car owners and drivers since drivers will pay for the cars upfront since car owners in the taxi market have in the past expressed concern over whether drivers were giving them a fair share of their revenues.
“We as Zuru see this as a way to create more employment opportunities for the youth while affording them the much needed flexibility to attend to other interests,” the Kenya based car rental marketplace that has been in operation since 2020 said in a press statement.
The Zuru app has vehicles listed across six towns in Kenya including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu. The app allows car owners to operate businesses by listing tier cars for hire while using them for private purposes thereby achieving a two-fold benefit.
Kenya and Africa’s car ownership ratio is estimated at 70 cars per 1000 people compared to 700 cars per 1000 people in developed countries. Car sharing helps to reduce demand for new cars helping to reduce congestion in cities.