By Elijah Odhiambo
Digital taxi hailing company, Bolt has opened a driver engagement centre in Nairobi.
This is the first facility of its kind in the city that responds to the concerns expressed by driver partners who lacked a physical office to submit their difficulties.
The centre, which is located in Westlands, will be accessed on an appointment basis to ensure seamless and effective management of driver issues.
Services to be offered at the office
Bolt states that the office will provide various services including driver support, effective communication channels, training opportunities, community building, driver appreciation, and positive branding.
Linda Ndungu, Country Manager, Rides noted that the facility is testimony that Bolt is committed to enhancing driver welfare and engagement.
“The launch of this centre is a testament that we are strongly committed to enhancing our driver welfare and engagement, which will ultimately contribute to the success and growth of our business and the ride-hailing industry at large,” said Linda Ndungu.
“We shall continue to collaboratively work with all our key stakeholders so as to continue offering affordable, safe and convenient ride-hailing services in Kenya; and creating entrepreneurial opportunities that enable more people to earn a sustainable living,” Ndungu added.
Through this office, Bolt, which has operations in more than 16 cities and towns around Kenya, hopes to strengthen its relationship with drivers and properly handle their concerns and recommendations.
Issues were previously resolved through email conversation with teams outside of Kenya.
The company opened its regional hub in Nairobi in 2022, giving the company the chance to conduct its activities in the area more systematically and cohesively.
The regional hub hosts the company’s top leadership overseeing operations across Africa, including the Regional Director for Rides across Africa and the Middle East, Regional Marketing Manager for Africa, Senior Head of Public Policy for Africa, and Legal Director for Africa.
Bolt is one of the 14 licensed taxi apps in Kenya. It runs operations alongside rivals such as Uber, Little Cabs, Yego, and Farasi, among others.
In 2021, Bolt entered the food delivery business with a product called Bolt Food. The move aimed at offering competition to Uber Eats, among other food delivery firms such as Glovo and Jumia Foods that have found notable local success. A few weeks ago, Bolt Food expanded beyond Nairobi to Mombasa.
Previous legal problems
Bolt has previously experienced legal difficulties in the nation.
It’s still the cheapest taxi app, but issues like driver compensation are still up for debate, and it took municipal rules to change prices so that both drivers and passengers benefited.
The Kenyan government passed new regulations in July 2022 that decreased the commission rate that e-taxi companies could charge their drivers from 25 percent to 18 percent.
Little Cab modified its pricing structure from a 15 percent commission to a set fee of 18 percent in reaction to these new regulations.
Uber and Bolt both agreed to a commission rate of 18 percent. However, they also added a new booking fee to their fares. This booking fee was not in place before the new rules were introduced, and it means that Uber and Bolt are still taking more than 23 percent of the total fare charged.