Gender based violence is an ongoing pox on our daily lives in South Africa but, thankfully, some folks in South Africa are trying their best to fight this scourge.
Case in point is local ride-hailing service Bolt which has today announced the launch of Women Only beyond the pilot phase regions of East London and Rustenburg.
As the name suggests, Bolt Women Only will allow women to book a ride with a female driver. Male drivers will not even know that the user has requested a ride.
Furthermore, Bolt says that it allows women drivers to install thick perspex security screens between the front and rear seats.
“Women e-hailing drivers and passengers have the right to feel safe and be protected from any harm while working and moving around, and the Women Only service, in combination with Bolt’s many other safety features, provides this safety and protection,” Bolt country manager for South Africa, Gareth Taylor, wrote in a media statement.
Drivers and passengers utilising Bolt’s Women Only service are protected by an app-integrated SOS emergency button, made possible through Bolt’s partnership with national safety platform Namola.
The SOS button enables passengers and drivers to connect quickly and easily to private armed response teams, private emergency medical services, and roadside assistance if they are involved in any medical or security emergency while on a Bolt ride.
Bolt’s Women Only offering is now available in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth, Mthatha, Polokwane, Thohoyandou, Mbombela and Emalahleni.
One other important aspect to note is that should a male rider attempt to game the system and lie about being female, the driver can cancel the trip and they won’t be penalised.
“Gender-based violence is a reality that women across South Africa contend with every day. Women Only – a service that is exclusively for and driven by women – shouldn’t be needed, but unfortunately it is,” says Taylor.
Hopefully other ride hailing apps follow Bolt’s example.