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Bolt Kenya Promises to Be The Safest Taxi Platform

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In a bid to address growing concerns surrounding its operations in Kenya, Bolt, the Estonian e-hailing company, has responded to a wave of social media uproar, acknowledging specific challenges and outlining measures taken to address them.

The move comes amidst a wave of social media uproar regarding the alleged unprofessionalism of some drivers, coupled with complaints about low remuneration and high commission fees, and a recent mishap on its license renewal that has since been approved. In response, Bolt outlined a number of key responses to these pressing issues.

Bolt Driver Training and Engagement Centers:

Responding to reports of unprofessionalism among drivers, Bolt emphasized its commitment to driver training programs and established engagement centers. These initiatives aim to ensure that drivers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide a professional and safe service. The company revealed that in light of hike in fuel prices, it has increased fare rates as of two weeks ago to enhance its driver earnings.

Removal of Booking Fee and Commission Rates:

In a bid to alleviate financial burdens on drivers and improve their earnings, Bolt announced the removal of the booking fee. The company also reiterated that its commission rate is capped at 18%, complying with regulatory requirements. The commission rates have been a point of contention, with NTSA higlighting it as one of the regulatory issues Bolt needed to comply with before its operating license was renewed.

Addressing Allegations of Harassment:

Concerns about drivers harassing customers were met with reassurance from Linda Ndungu, the Country Manager for Bolt. She highlighted stringent rules in place for driver conduct and emphasized the priority of customer safety. Immediate action is taken against drivers found in gross misconduct, but careful investigations are conducted to avoid unfair punishment. “We take feedback from our customers very seriously, and conduct thorough investigations. When there is something that is actionable on our side to do, then we do it immediately and very seriously.”

Bolt Kenya In-App Safety Feature:

To enhance customer safety, Bolt urged users to utilize the in-app safety feature, the SOS button, to contact customer care during rides in case of any issues. Linda Ndungu advised customers to keep the app on during the ride for traceability, especially when drivers request turning it off. When the app is turned off, it is impossible to race a ride and deal with any inconveniences a customer might have during the ride, Ms Linda observed.

Market Competitiveness and Allegations of Possible Sabotage:

Bolt addressed the issue of being portrayed negatively in the media, attributing it to possible mischief fueled by the competitive nature of the market. The Country Manager for Bolt, Ms Linda Ndungu, stated, “Competitiveness in the market shows up in many interesting ways. We are alive to the fact that these things happen, but that’s okay and will not stop us from gowing and giving good service, which is our core business.” The head of public policy and management, George Abasy, reiterated the commitment Bolt has to its stake holders, and engaging in discussions to ensure customer satisfaction. “We appreciate all feedback and holistic discussions that will help improve the sector, from the competitors, driver partners and the ministry on transport.”

Impact on Business and New Electric Car Project:

Despite recent challenges, Bolt asserted that business has not been adversely affected, with no noticeable decline in ride orders. The company reiterated its commitment to the Kenyan market and unveiled an ambitious new project – an investment of over Ksh 100 million in electric cars, set to launch soon. We have already identified a few of partners and put in some financing, we are going to start with the pilot, where we will avail the electric cars to drivers who operate on our platform.” – Ms Linda Ndungu, Bolt Kenya Country Manager.

Disgruntled Drivers and Bad Publicity:

Bolt acknowledged that a few cases of unprofessionalism have been reported, but emphasized that the sensationalism and over-publicity of these issues, potentially fueled by disgruntled drivers, present a skewed image. The company disclosed that it has over 50,000 drivers on the platform, all subject to strict verification processes, including a certificate of good conduct.

Bolt Kenya’s Commitment to Customers and Market:

In conclusion, Bolt reaffirmed its commitment to serving customers and the Kenyan market. Despite challenges, the company remains resilient and optimistic about its future, actively addressing concerns, training drivers, and introducing innovative projects to enhance its services. Ms Ndungu concludes, “We are here to stay, we are not going anywhere. So we will work on any issue to serve our clients in the best way.”

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