BusinessDay

Bolt introduces 3% booking fee amid price surges

Despite complaints of constant price surges on the platform, Bolt has announced the introduction of a 3 percent booking fee on all trips.

According to the company, this would cover operational costs and enable the improvement of features to make Bolt the best way to move around.

In recent times, riders have taken to social media to complain about how prices continue to surge on every trip on the ride-hailing platform. Uber app users have also seen prices surge without explanation. Users who have monitored the price surges say it started around July and continues to go higher in December.

Akinpelumi Akinniyi, founder and CEO of Wearslot Solution, a digital fashion startup said he paid N5300 from Victoria Island to Ajah, a 40 minutes journey that usually takes a maximum of N2500 on the Bolt app.

Another rider who said she booked a ride on Uber from Surulere to Lekki Phase 1 was given an estimate of N8,270 to N10,785 on UberX.

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“I paused on the app for a while when the surge became too frequent,” tweets Stephen Angbulu, a journalist with Punch “I couldn’t understand a surge at 11:30 am on a weekday when most people have since settled into their workplaces. I think it is artificial.”

Bolt in its letter to users on 8 December, said the increased booking fee will be used for free in-app and chat functionality, insurance coverage on all rides, driver biometric verification, and 24/7 support.

“We also recognise changes in operating costs which can occur as we work to keep you moving around reliably, safely, and affordably,” the company noted in the letter.

Experts however say the price surge may be a result of different factors, including rise in traffic in major parts of Lagos State, unhealthy ride-hailing policies in states like Lagos, and currency devaluation affecting prices of spare parts for drivers that need to repair or maintain their vehicles.

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