Startups

COVID-19: Bolt Suspends Ride-Hailing In Nigeria & Moves To Deliveries, Uber Stops Service


April 1, 2020

Following Sunday’s announcement by the Nigerian government that all forms of movement will be halted for the next 2 weeks in 3 cities in an attempt to contain COVID-19, Bolt Nigeria has halted ride-hailing services temporarily and pivoted to deliveries.

In a statement obtained by WeeTracker, Bolt Nigeria revealed that it has just launched Bolt Business Delivery service in Lagos and Abuja today.

Bolt Nigeria says the new service works by connecting businesses with couriers on the Bolt platform and allows vendors to place orders online to deliver products to their customers affordably within the same day or even hour.

“Bolt has been working around the clock to provide innovative solutions to assist Nigerian businesses and our micro-economy workforce to continue generating revenue safely during the lockdown,” says Femi Akin-Laguda, country manager for Bolt in Nigeria.

“Being agile and identifying ways that businesses can work together is key to our economy’s survival through this crisis.”

Following the recent spike in the number of confirmed cases COVID-19 in Nigeria (136 cases as at press time), President Muhammadu Buhari called for a two-week cessation of movement in three states including Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun.

However, the directive from the President left room for companies that render essential services in the affected states to continue operations. The essential services companies exempted were food and drug companies, medical/health institutions, oil installations, utilities, and certain transport companies.

This implies that a number of business outlets will remain open for business even as the cessation of movement order is in effect. Hence, Bolt Nigeria is looking to rejig its service so as to help fulfill the needs of this period.

“We have launched Bolt Business Delivery with two key goals in mind: to make sure that drivers on the Bolt platform can continue to earn a living safely and to help businesses selling the essential products defined by the lockdown regulations to get orders to their customers quickly and safely,” explains Akin-Lakuda.

On a similar note, Uber has suspended its operations in Nigeria following the 14-day movement restriction order. The continuation of its ride-hailing services will depend on further communication from the Nigerian government. Both Uber and Bolt have their core Nigerian operations in Lagos and Abuja — two cities where normal movement has ceased.

As Uber Nigeria told WeeTracker,

“As announced by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 29, 2020, there will be a restriction of all movement within Lagos and Abuja during the 14-day lockdown which begins at 11 pm on Monday, 30th March. Based on this directive, Uber will temporarily cease operations for the period of the lockdown, subject to any further government announcements.”

Bolt Nigeria, on its part, is looking to keep things going with the Bolt Business Delivery service. It boasts a simple, easy-to-use web interface. Vendors are able to upload deliveries in batches via CSV or can enter them manually using a simple form.

Orders can be set to be picked up immediately or scheduled to be collected within 48 hours. When adding orders, vendors will receive a price estimate. Once they confirm request delivery, Bolt will dispatch a courier to collect the order at the specified time.

Bolt says contactless delivery is mandatory for all Bolt Business Delivery orders to help prevent the spread of the virus from person to person. The vendors will have to specify a location in the app where the courier can leave the package and they will never be in direct contact with the receiver.

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