Bolt Nigeria is offering 10% commission to drivers, but they must accept rides from economy-class

Ejike Kanife
Describing it as a unique earning opportunity, Bolt said drivers will have the chance to drive across both the Bolt category (its base ride type) and the Economy category
Bolt vehicle

Popular ride-hailing company, Bolt Nigeria is quietly moving drivers on its regular platform down to its economy class with a promise of paying only a 10% commission. This was revealed in a message sent to the drivers and confirmed to Technext by a Bolt spokesperson.

In the message, the ride-hailing company said the move was necessary in the face of harsh economic realities that have seen a decline in the number of orders received by the platform. They attributed this to the fuel subsidy removal, the hike in fuel price that followed, and the attendant increase in fares in the wake of that.

“To keep your earnings high while attracting more riders back to the platform, we’ll be opening up the Economy category to more top-performing drivers like yourself. This means you’ll now be able to receive ride requests from both the Economy and Bolt category riders,” the company said in the message to its drivers.

Confirming the development to Technext, Bolt said the initiative was targeted only at select drivers which it describes as “top performing drivers”. It said the initiative was undertaken to achieve three objectives: enhancing rider options; boosting drivers’ order volume; and fostering increased earnings for drivers.


Describing it as a unique earning opportunity, the app company said drivers will have the chance to drive across both the Bolt category (its base ride type) and the Economy category (the more affordable option).

“Drivers on our platform have always had the option to switch between categories such as the Corporate and Bolt in Lagos. However, we are now allowing drivers to accept trips in the Economy category,” Bolt told Technext.

This latest move in Bolt’s quest to keep drivers happy on the platform will come into effect from September 15. Furthermore, the drivers will see the commissions paid to the platform slashed by half, as Bolt will be accepting just 10% of the fares. While the company says this opportunity is only for top-performing drivers, it appears many drivers have received the invitation.

Could Bolt be solving its problems by creating more problems?

While this appears as a good move in the face of trying times currently being experienced by drivers, it, however, begs a number of questions. The first is how Bolt intends to deal with drivers already operating in its economy class, seeing as they would now have to share their rides with the regular drivers.

More will be far from merrier in this case.

Another problem, as the company itself noted earlier, is the fact that the economy class charges way lower fares than the regular class. While the 10% commission is good, ultimately it comes down to 10% of what? Would the difference be enough to guarantee drivers, who now have to share the number of rides, are indeed earning enough?

E-hailing drivers have remained one of the worst-hit sections of the fuel subsidy removal by the Bola Tinubu-led federal government of Nigeria. In the wake of the accompanying 280 per cent hike in fuel prices, drivers have seen their earnings drastically reduced across various ride-hailing platforms.

The companies themselves tried to salvage the situation by increasing the fares on trips. Bolt instituted a 15% increase in fares while UberX increased by at least 21%.

Fuel: ‘We have to park our cars’ Uber and Bolt drivers groan as price hit N617/Ltr
A protest by drivers to demand a review of the regulations by AMAC in Abuja in June. Credit: TheNewsGuru

However, this was not enough to guarantee meaningful earnings for the drivers who were demanding a 200% increase in fares. On June 6, under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria (AUATON), the e-hailing drivers embarked on a week-long warning strike, boycotting ride-hailing apps in a bid to force them to increase the fares.

Another important demand the drivers made was for the app companies to slash their commissions by 50% or accept a flat 10% rate in commission.

See also: Uber and Bolt refuse calls for 10% commission, say they are working on minimising drivers hardship

However, none of those happened as at the time they called off their strike with both app companies refusing to back down on their commission rate. But with Bolt dangling the prospect of a 10% commission with this new initiative, many drivers are entertaining the faint hope that this may be the first step towards achieving a 10% blanket rate across the board.

But for now, Bolt says the initiative is only for select drivers, though hinting that it could eventually be extended in its response. Moving to economy class is optional and the drivers will be able to opt in and out whenever they want.

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