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Bolt Enhances Rider Safety with Feature to Report Offline Trip Requests


Ridesharing platform Bolt has rolled out a new safety feature in Kenya aimed at reducing risky offline trips. The “Driver Asked to Pay Off-the-App” tool lets riders immediately flag situations where drivers request payment outside the official Bolt app.

Through the feature, passengers can report demands for extra fees above the fare set by Bolt or any efforts by drivers to take trips offline. This empowers riders to take action against violations of Bolt’s safety policies.

Country Manager Linda Ndungu explained that the company strongly discourages drivers and riders from exchanging contacts or negotiating unofficial offline trips. When trips operate outside of the app, critical built-in safety components like GPS tracking and emergency alerts become inactive. 

Remaining within the app ensures both parties can access and utilize these protections. Bolt is implementing penalties like temporary bans for drivers caught soliciting offline trips repeatedly. As per Ndungu, Bolt remains dedicated to upholding security within its platform.

The new feature comes amid a broader push to enhance safety across ridesharing apps. Key competitor Uber recently launched similar capabilities. From optional audio recording to emergency response services within its app. 

Industry players aim to mitigate risks and reinforce reliability as ridesharing expands across Africa. In Kenya, Bolt plans to grow beyond its current 16 operational towns backed by substantial funding.

However, taking trips offline opens up security gaps and leaves Bolt powerless to intervene in case of incidents. Without the app’s oversight, standard safety measures dissolve, placing passengers and drivers at greater risk.

By empowering riders to immediately call out violations, Bolt closes loopholes that could lead to dangerous situations. Offline trips signal lost income opportunities for drivers as well. Maintaining all activities within the app streamlines security protections for all.

Ndungu encouraged users to fully utilize safety components offered in-app, whether Bolt’s new feature or existing toolkit of SOS contacts and other resources. 

Leveraging these tools, passengers can complete trips with greater confidence and peace of mind. Drivers also benefit from reinforced security policies that aim to prevent illegal behaviour from undermining their livelihoods.  

As ridesharing expands across sub-Saharan Africa, maintaining robust safety frameworks is crucial – starting with keeping all transactions visible and trackable within the app. Bolt’s added reporting capability signifies a consumer-focused approach to refining protections.



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