Ride-hailing app Bolt has introduced a new low-cost category called Bolt-Go, which will be at least 20 per cent cheaper than regular Bolt rides, making them the cheapest ride-hailing services in South Africa.
The introduction of Bolt-Go is in a bid to make it easier for more car owner and drivers to join the South African ride-hailing industry and more hatchback car owners to access the platform and earn income.
“Smaller hatchback cars are less expensive to purchase, have lower maintenance costs, and are more fuel-efficient to operate than Bolt’s regular larger sedan cars,” said Gareth Taylor, country manager for Bolt South Africa.
“These lower operational costs also enable Bolt Go fares to be significantly more affordable.”
Bolt’s cheaper service has already been tested in the Eastern Cape cities of East London and Port Elizabeth and is now being rolled out to 35 cities globally and towns in South Africa where Bolt is active.
Bolt-Go will initially be introduced to secondary provincial cities and towns, and then in the large urban areas of Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban. The rates for time and kilometres per trip vary between locations but with the new service, it will always be about 20 per cent cheaper compared to Bolt’s standard category.
“Because Bolt Go has been designed for hatchback drivers, the service is not ideal for trips with lots of luggage – for example to the airport ahead of a big holiday – but it’s perfect for people wanting to quickly, safely and affordably get to work, the shops or to family – all dependent on the COVID-19 regulations at any time,” says Taylor.
Bolt’s existing trip protection will also apply to Bolt-Go. This includes a no-cost, value-added insurance product that covers all passengers and drivers across all car categories in the case of an accident or unexpected incident.
The Bolt Go category is great for hatchback cars in good condition with low mileage. The car must pass a 45-point safety inspection and seat at least four passengers including the driver. Popular models include the likes of Volkswagen Polo Vivo, Datsun Go and Toyota Etios.
Bolt-Go gives consumers additional choices to the existing categories the company already offers including Bolt (the original sedan category), Isolate, Premium, XL and Van.
Hatchback cars can only operate in the Bolt-Go category. However, owners of all the other regular cars experiencing slow business can opt-in and out of Bolt-Go to boost their revenue.
Taylor explained that transportation services remain critical to the functioning of the economy, and as a significant stakeholder in the transportation sector, ride-hailing must adapt and transform in times of crisis.
“Our focus is on the thousands of South African drivers who rely on Bolt to connect them with passengers and earn a steady income – and enabling them to continue to earn that income to care for their families and loved ones,” he concludes.
All Bolt drivers across all categories must have a Professional Driving Permit and pass a criminal background check before they join the platform. They must also adhere to strict COVID-19 safety protocols during all trips.