Bolt Explains “SOROSOKE” Initiative in Response to Allegations of SARS Complicity

Exclusive: Bolt Explains "SOROSOKE" Initiative, Affirms Support for #EndSARS in Response to Allegations
Bolt Nigeria

Ride-hailing platform, Bolt has clarified its “Soro Soke” initiative and declared its support for the #EndSARS campaign to debunk allegations that it has aided police brutality against riders.

Bolt Africa Public Relations (PR) Manager, Nthabiseng Mokoena told Technext that the company’s “SOROSOKE” promo was part of its efforts to support the #EndSARS protests and not abet SARS violence.

Our effort in support of #ENDSARS protest materialised in this initiative. It was not the intent of this initiative to lure, incite fear or cannibalise a legitimate issue raised by members of our community.

Nthabiseng Mokoena, Bolt Africa PR Manager

“Our effort and motive were to help amplify the many voices of people who desperately seek an end to the unjust and unfair treatment that has been received by many Nigerians,” she added.

Last week, Technext had reported that Bolt denied scheming with security operatives to harass #EndSARS protesters. Unverified claims across social media had suggested that the e-Hailing company used its 50% “SOROSOKE” discount to attract #EndSARS protesters and give them up to the Police.

Bolt Insists Drivers NOT Conniving with SARS

Bolt has again refuted allegations claiming that its drivers are purportedly complicit in incidents of police brutality against riders.

Mokoena told Technext that “Bolt drivers or Bolt do not collude with any law enforcement agencies to harass or harm any member of our community.”

Recall that a driver had told Technext that it is “highly possible” that some drivers connive with SARS officers especially if such driver were a policeman.

Responding to this, Mokoena has urged anyone privy to such information to report to the company.

“In this, we can escalate through to the appropriate channel for further investigation as we continue to work towards removing suspicions and realities of criminality in the ride-hailing industry and continue to build trust with our community,” she said.

Sanctioning Complicit Drivers

In a previous article, Technext pointed out that Bolt has yet to provide any evidence on penalising drivers found guilty of misconduct. But the Mokoena told Technext that the company has sanctioned a number of drivers who breached the ride-hailing platform’s policies and community guidelines. She, however, said data privacy laws do not permit Bolt to reveal that information.

“We’re prohibited from providing such information by data privacy laws; however, we can confirm that once a case has been handed over to the police we allow for full cooperation with the investigation,” she revealed.

She explained that only the investigating agency and individuals involved could disclose any further information on such cases. 

Driver Verification and Partnership

After Technext revealed in a prior article that the ride-hailing company does not check for drivers’ criminal history during verification, the company has stated that this is as a result of the “non-digitised” criminal background check process in Nigeria.

Bolt Denies Being Hacked, Blames Payment Processor for Random Customer Debits
Bolt App

However, digitised criminal record checks may be carried out by the Nigerian Police at the Central Criminal Registry (CCR). A prospective driver’s fingerprints will be registered and scanned against the criminal record database to determine if such person has ever been convicted of any crime.

On the classification of drivers as independent contractors, the PRO explained that this does not grant drivers the leeway to act out of order as there are still binding terms and conditions.

Should drivers not follow any of the rules and regulations stipulated in their agreement with Bolt, there is clear recourse for Bolt to ensure the integrity of its community.

Nthabiseng Mokoena

App Security Concerns and Riders’ Insurance

Regarding riders’ app security concerns, Bolt has said that its app collects sufficient data on every trip undertaken via its platform.

Although the company did not specifically state that it is able to track drivers on-the-go, it maintained that its ability to provide ride-hailing services hinged on being able to gather significant trip information for rider safety.

Bolt has also introduced an insurance cover for riders and drivers through its cost-free Bolt Trip Protect for all app users. The insurance offers compensation for bodily injury, loss of privately owned items among others.

In summary, Bolt has reiterated that it does not collude with any security operatives to harass riders and has promised to continue assessing and evaluating its policies to ensure the maximum safety of riders and drivers.

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