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E-hailing service Bolt, which operates in more than 35 towns and cities across South Africa, has boosted its focus on safety by introducing an emergency response button for passengers.

The SOS button, located within the Bolt app’s Safety Toolkit, enables passengers to connect quickly and easily 24/7 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.

The new safety feature is at no cost to passengers and is enabled through an expansion of Bolt’s partnership with national safety platform Namola.

“If a Bolt passenger feels unsafe or if they are involved in an accident or any other emergency incident while on a ride, they can activate the Namola-linked SOS button in the Safety Toolkit on their Bolt app,” says Gareth Taylor, Country Manager for Bolt in South Africa.

Namola guarantees a call-back within 90 seconds, they establish the nature of the incident, send the appropriate response services to the passenger’s location immediately, and help passengers stay calm and safe while they wait for assistance to arrive.

The integration between Bolt and Namola’s technology platforms makes it possible for the emergency response teams to quickly ascertain passenger’s identity, location and contact information, the make, model and licence plate of the car, as well as their driver’s details.

“This technology integration saves time, and enables response teams to reach passengers’ locations faster, because faster responses save lives,” says Taylor.

“Our partnership with Namola enables passengers to simply and quickly ask for help, enables us to locate them and communicate with them, and dispatch the fastest possible appropriate help to their location.”

Bolt, SOS button, e-hailing, ridesharing

The activation of the SOS button also automatically alerts the Bolt High Priority response team about any incidents. They can then liaise with the South African Police Service after the incident to provide them with all the necessary data and information needed to pursue their investigations.

“The safety of our drivers and passengers is our foremost priority and a responsibility that we take very seriously,” says Taylor.

“We continue to engage with passengers, drivers, and other stakeholders to understand their safety concerns, and identify ways to continually boost safety for our passengers and drivers.”

The passenger SOS button is just one of many measures that Bolt has introduced to make passengers feel safer while they are on rides hailed through the platform.

Other safety measures include sharing all of the driver and car details with the passenger before the driver arrives, so that passengers can verify the driver’s identity before they get into a car, and the ability to share trip details with a trusted friend or family member, so that the journey can be observed by a third party.

“Safety is an ongoing focus for everyone in the transportation sector in South Africa and it’s our responsibility to continue to invest heavily in keeping our passengers and drivers safe while they are utilising our platform,” concludes Taylor.