Ride-hailing service Bolt believes that SMEs are the engines of growth and employment in South Africa, and that action-driven support of small business is now more important than ever, as many SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs are at risk of losing their livelihoods.
In a quick pivot of the planned launch of its food delivery service offering, Bolt acted swiftly in response to the COVID-19 lockdown to transform Bolt Food into an essential goods delivery service.
Bolt Food launches in Cape Town today and offers free delivery until 23 April 2020, with drivers able to deliver groceries, pet food, health supplements and off-the-shelf medications. Expected to roll out countrywide in the coming days, the service helps retailers, greengrocers, butchers, pet stores and independent pharmacies who don’t have delivery partners to stay in business during the lockdown.
While regular ride-hailing is restricted to four hours each in the morning and evening for essential workers and people procuring essential goods/services, Bolt Food drivers are able to transport goods during the same hours that retailers are open for business, ensuring convenience for retailers and their customers, and expanding drivers’ opportunities to earn an income.
Bolt has also partnered with Shesha Tuks, and now offers Tuk Tuks as an additional category to Bolt users in Sandton and Rosebank. The partnership means that drivers currently operating with Shesha are able to earn an income during lockdown and that Bolt users can travel and receive essential goods. Fares are up to 20% cheaper than a Bolt ride in a regular sedan, and the Tuk Tuks will also be available to complete deliveries for Bolt Business Delivery and Bolt Food.
“Shesha’s mission to promote job creation and empowerment to a new generation of self-sustainable people aligns so well with what we believe in as a business. Bolt is committed to enabling the growth and development of the thousands of micro-entrepreneurs across the country and is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead with Shesha,” says Gareth Taylor, country manager of Bolt South Africa.
Bolt Van has also been added as a category, and is now available in Gauteng, with additional city roll-outs to follow. Bolt Van offers up to three passengers the opportunity to ride together in a seven (or more) seater vehicle, in line with Government’s regulations on physical distancing when using ride-hailing services.
“We continue to provide sanitization products and services for Bolt drivers at driver centres across the country, and all the drivers signing up for these new categories are fully trained in the physical distancing, contactless delivery, and vehicle cleanliness requirements described by Government,” Taylor adds.
“Bolt has worked hard and fast to respond and adapt positively to the current environment, remaining focused on creating opportunities for the micro-entrepreneurs that use our platform to maintain their livelihoods,” says Taylor.
“With our unwavering focus on entrepreneurship and how small businesses can help address South Africa’s unemployment challenges, these new categories will also help small and medium-sized businesses stay alive by delivering essential products and services to their customers,” he adds.
Download the Bolt Food app here for access to essential services delivery. Bolt Tuk Tuks and Bolt Van can be selected from categories on the Bolt app when choosing a ride in available areas.