Bolt has told MyBroadband that a small number of its drivers were not operating as part of a protest on Monday.
The company did not elaborate on the reason for the strike action, but an earlier report from EWN stated that e-hailing drivers from Bolt and Uber in Gauteng, Free State, and the Western Cape were trying to draw attention to the need for regulation of the e-hailing industry.
According to the report, the protestors were using Transport Month to demonstrate their grievances over alleged exploitation by the companies.
“We as operators feel highly exploited by app giants Uber and Bolt and think that it’s important that regulation be put in place to protect us as operators,” said a spokesperson for the protestors, Vhatuka Mbelengwa.
However, Uber told MyBroadband it was not aware of any protest by its operators but noted that a “competitor” had been impacted by the strike.
MyBroadband confirmed that it was still possible to book an Uber via the app as of Monday morning.
Longer waiting times
Bolt South Africa country manager Gareth Taylor said the strike was having a limited impact on its operations.
“Apart from slightly longer waiting times, the protest has not impacted riders’ ability to hail a ride through the platform, as there are enough drivers who have chosen to stay online to meet demand,” Taylor noted.
“Bolt respects every driver’s right to protest legally, peacefully, and without impacting the rights of other drivers who choose to continue to operate and earn an income,” Taylor said.
He said that Bolt was engaging with its driver-partners through a variety of channels, both electronic and face-to-face, and is continuously developing tools to address the concerns of drivers.
“In the event that a memorandum is handed over by protesters at Bolt’s offices, a Bolt representative will be made available to receive it,” Taylor said.
“Bolt continues to welcome drivers’ feedback about their issues of concern, and commits to making communications and decisions in the best interests of drivers that use the platform, and Bolt too,” he added.