Uber competitor, Bolt, has launched a cheaper version of its ride-hailing platform in South Africa called Bolt Go.
The company said that fares will likely be around 20% less than regular Bolt rides.
The reason, Bolt said, is because the new service will see drivers allowed hatchbacks serving riders for the first time.
“Smaller hatchback cars are less expensive to purchase, have lower maintenance costs, and are more fuel-efficient to operate than Bolt’s regular larger sedan cars,” said Bolt South African country manager Gareth Taylor.
“These lower operational costs also enable Bolt Go fares to be significantly more affordable.”
The company said it has already trialled this service in the Eastern Cape, and it is now being rolled out to all 35 cities and towns across South Africa where Bolt is active.
All trips in the Bolt Go category will include Bolt’s existing Trip Protection – a no-cost, value-added insurance product that covers all passengers and drivers across all car categories in the case of an accident or unexpected incident.
Bolt Go accommodates standard hatchback cars in good condition with low mileage and at least four passenger seats. These vehicles must also pass a 45-point safety inspection.
“The new category gives consumers even more choice in addition to the existing categories that Bolt offers including Bolt (the original sedan category), Isolate, Premium, XL and Van,” Bolt said.
While hatchbacks can only operate in the Bolt Go category, Bolt has allowed the drivers of its regular larger sedan cars, who may be experiencing a quiet period, to opt in and out on an ad-hoc basis to Bolt Go to boost their earnings.
“Our focus is on the thousands of South African drivers who rely on Bolt to connect them with passengers and earn a steady income – and enabling them to continue to earn that income to care for their families and loved ones,” Taylor said.