Demand surges for “isolated car” rides in South Africa

Demand for Bolt’s Isolated Car service has increased substantially in South Africa, with the company expanding its fleet of vehicles that offer this service.

Bolt’s Isolated Car service lets customers choose to ride in vehicles which have additional COVID-19 protection measures installed, including a physical screen between the front and rear seats.

“The Bolt Isolated Car service, currently the only ride-hailing service to offer this extra protection, launched in Johannesburg during March 2020, with an initial 500 vehicles,” Bolt said.

“Vehicles have a protective barrier installed between the front and back seats, providing a physical shield between the driver and their passenger, limiting the airflow between the drivers and riders inside the cars.”

This service costs the same as a regular Bolt ride and includes extra safety measures as well as a limit on the number of passengers.

To meet the growing demand for its Isolated Car service, Bolt has increased the number of vehicles registered on the platform that offer these protection measures to 3,000.

The company has also expanded the service beyond Johannesburg to Cape Town and Durban.

“We anticipate that Bolt Isolated Cars are likely to be even more popular under Level 3 as COVID-19 lockdown conditions relax and more South Africans are able to return to work – many of them concerned about using public transport due to social distancing fears,” said Bolt South Africa country manager Gareth Taylor.

“Bolt has responded quickly throughout the lockdown period to create solutions that have helped essential services workers get to work safely, while also ensuring that drivers using the platform continue to earn an income.”

“The company’s recent successful funding round will further support our plans to expand our services and our footprint, to further meet South Africans’ transport needs,” Taylor said.

Double the number of protected vehicles

Bolt has announced that it will double the number of vehicles which are compatible with this service by subsidising the installation of the protection measures in a further 4,000 vehicles registered on its platform.

The company anticipates that demand for this offering will continue to increase, especially from healthcare, laboratory, and other essential services workers.

Bolt added that it also expects increased demand from workers that are returning to the office under alert level 3 and who do not want to or are unable to use public transport.

“Under Level 3 regulations, for example, employers of non-live-in domestic staff might want to provide private transport for their workers for their safety should they wish them to return to their duties, and Bolt Isolated Cars is a cost-effective and safe solution,” Bolt said.

Taylor said he expected that employers who need their workers to get to work by means other than public transport will subsidise the ride-hailing fares, or they can set up post-paid accounts on the Bolt Business platform, where they can allocate budgets, record trips, and manage expense claims easily.

Images of Bolt’s Isolated Car vehicles are shown below.

Isolated Car COVID-19 protection

Bolt protection 1

Bolt protection 2

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Demand surges for “isolated car” rides in South Africa