January 31, 2022

Bolt Plans To Sign-Up 200,000 New Drivers In Africa To Meet Growing Demand For Ride-Hailing Services

Bolt is planning to onboard an additional 200,000 drivers in Africa this year, as it kicks off an expansion to more cities within its existing markets while keeping up with the growing demand for e-hailing services across the continent.

The news comes just days after it announced a fresh round of €628m (£52m) at a valuation of €7.4bn (£6.5bn).

The round, led by Sequoia Capital and Fidelity Management and Research Company LLC, with participation from Whale Rock, Owl Rock, D1, G Squared, Tekne, Ghisallo, and others, brought the total raised by the nine-year-old startup to €1.8bn, according to Dealroom data.

The company currently manages more than 700,000 drivers catering to about 40 million riders across its existing seven markets in Africa. But Bolt’s Africa regional director, Paddy Partridge, told TechCrunch that the ride-hailing firm has experienced a spike in on-demand transportation services and that the current drivers — especially in Ghana and Nigeria where “there’s a real shortage of cars” — are not enough to meet this growth.

He said: “One of the challenges we have with our growth at the moment is that on the ride-hailing side, the demand for our services is growing faster than we’re able to onboard drivers, particularly in West and Southern Africa. We’re just not able to continue keeping up with that growth because drivers are not able to access vehicles at an affordable rate,” said Partridge.

“We are having to find ways to really attract as many drivers as we can… like make their earnings potential as good as possible so that we can bring people (drivers) onto our platform…to solve this issue around access to cars.”

The shortage, Partridge says, is a result of supply-chain challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to r an increase in the cost of vehicles.

But the company continues to collaborate with the likes of  Metro Africa Xpress (MAX), a Nigerian mobility-tech company, to extend lease-to-own financing to its drivers.

The partnership with MAX reportedly provides financing for 10,000 energy-efficient vehicles (both electric and gas-powered), providing the much-needed support to drivers using leased vehicles or those employed to operate taxis.

They have done the same in South Africa. Bolt has a similar arrangement with FlexClub, a vehicle subscriptions marketplace that allows drivers to get into the taxi business through a lease-to-own financing model.

Article Tags : ,
Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.