E-hailing app Bolt launches Women-Only service across South Africa


Bolt Women Only
Image | Canva

With the rise in demand for safety, women are turning to women-only cab-hailing services. To keep up and meet this demand, Bolt announced this week that its users can now request a woman driver through their app.

Back in November 2020, the e-hailing company piloted its “Women Only” service in East London and Rustenburg where it proved to be wildly popular. Bolt’s Women Only service is now available in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth, Mthatha, Polokwane, Thohoyandou, Mbombela and Emalahleni.

The company’s move to add a woman driver feature comes as women-only transport services such as Ladies Own TransportWomen Go, and ChaufHer, are rapidly launching across South Africa in response to rising cases of harassment and gender-based violence on public transport.

How Bolt’s Women Only Feature Works

Bolt’s registration process includes checking the gender on identity documents of each and every driver. When a rider requests a woman driver, the request will not be shown to male drivers.

If a woman driver arrives at a pickup point expecting a woman rider and it’s instead a man who is waiting, the woman driver may cancel the trip and will not be penalised in any way.

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There is no extra charge for Bolt’s new Women Only service, but the company says only less than 5% of its registered drivers are women, which means that users may wait longer for a driver when using the service. However, the company hopes the new feature may encourage more women to sign up as drivers.

To further ensure the safety of women drivers and riders, Bolt is already funding the free installation of Perspex barriers between passenger and driver for female drivers. These thick Perspex screens are installed between the front and back seats and create a safe and effective barrier between the driver and passengers.

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