Bolt has improved livelihood of drivers, ensures safety of riders – Manager

Bolt Transport Services, says it has succeeded in not only raising the standard of living of its drivers but also served as a cost-effective and safe mode of transportation for riders.

Bolt Country Manager, Femi Akin-Laguda, told the News of Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja that the company was also committed to ensuring the safety of its riders and drivers in the country.

Akin-Laguda said it had also introduced several features to mitigate safety and security of both the drivers and passengers.

NAN reports that the bolt market was launched in Nigeria in 2016 and has since expanded to 25 cities and towns, providing reliable and convenient access to mobility of cars and tricycles.

According to Akin-Laguda, the company has increased the minimum quality benchmark for drivers and has expanded the driver profiles so riders can see their drivers.

He said the company had upgraded its support systems and increased service agents to respond to rider and driver concerns more rapidly and with better quality.

He said that a continuous state-wide driver retraining and re-education programme had also been launched for better services.

“There is a share ride info feature that allows a rider to share a link with a loved one, who then has access to the driver’s information and can track the car in real-time throughout the journey.

“A rigorous driver verification process, powered by YouVerify and uses Driver’s License, NIMC and BVN databases to ensure we have the correct information about every driver and including a home visit is in place.

“There is also a Ride-hailing Insurance that covers injuries and personal effects of riders and drivers involved in incidents, while on Bolt rides,’’ he said.

On fares, Akin-Laguda said it was made up of three variables – the base fee, a fixed fee for every trip, a charge per km covered, a charge per minute spent on the trip and any tolls parking fees used.

According to him, these components makeup the final fare for the trip, and they differ from city to city.

He said that the actual fare also depended on the category selected, the destination and in some cases, the effects of dynamic pricing (surge pricing) at the time and place where the trip began.

On Corporate Social Responsibility, Akin-Laguda said: “We’ve recently launched our Women in Tech initiative.

“And we’re working on contributing to initiatives related to innovation, education, technology, sustainability and entrepreneurship not only in Nigeria but across the continent.”

Meanwhile, some female bolt drivers shared their experiences as drivers with NAN, saying it had been a very exciting experience for them.

They said initially, they were discouraged as some passengers did not accept they could safely deliver them to their destinations; although the narrative had long changed for the better.

They however commended the management for allowing them to venture and thrive “in a man’s territory’’.

Mrs Sarah Anthony, a Bolt driver said “My income as a civil servant was not enough to carter for my family, so Bolt presented me an opportunity that would not in any way interfere with my job.

” So far, it has been an exciting experience.

“Initially some passengers did not feel comfortable when they saw a woman behind the wheels but I think people are gradually getting used to us.

“There is also more competition now as more people are venturing into the bolt driving business and we do not get many clients as we used to have from the onset.

“I think this business has come to stay because aside that it’s a cheap means of transportation, it has helped to a large extent to boost security and curb the situation of one chance in the city centre.

“Moreso, people hardly forget their items in bolt vehicles and don’t get it back because the drivers will locate you and deliver your item back to you in perfect condition.

“it’s a win-win for drivers and riders of bolts as everyone has the opportunity of bonuses which is not obtainable in other transport systems, ” Anthony said.

Another driver, Miss Chidinma Moses, said it had not been easy being a female driver as many times people, especially the male folks tended to get a wrong impression and make advances at them.

“Aside the fact that we get scared sometimes by the appearance of some riders, they also make advances at us simply because we are females.

“However, I am an adult and know what I want and why I am into the business. So it behooves on me to either accept or reject their proposals.

“It is definitely challenging and the present economic situation is not helping us at all.

“The cost of fuel and its availability has been challenging, the cost of spare parts has gone up and it is difficult to maintain our vehicles.

“The most interesting part is that these factors do not really affect the fares as Bolt tends to make it easy for riders to move around.

“I want to commend Bolt because he has been doing wonderfully well in meeting both drivers and riders demands and does not default in paying drivers when due,” Moses said.

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