NAIROBI, Kenya, June 13 – Taxi-hailing firm Bolt has issued a statement in response to the recent abduction and subsequent rescue of two girls who were kidnapped by a Bolt driver.
The victims, Erica Gachoka, daughter of media personality Ciku Muiruri, and her friend Shanice Agose, had attended a house party in Nairobi’s Westlands area before using the Bolt taxi application to request a ride to Kilimani.
However, upon entering the vehicle along Rhapta Road in Westlands, the driver threatened them with a hammer and drove off towards Thika.
The victims, who went missing on June 4, were rescued Monday by a joint team of detectives drawn from the Directorate of Criminal investigations’ Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau and the Operations branch.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Bolt emphasized its commitment to passenger safety, stating that it takes the well-being of their passengers “very seriously” and strongly condemns any acts of violence or aggression.
The company expressed gratitude to the local authorities for their efforts in rescuing the two girls and reunifying them with their families, highlighting its active cooperation with law enforcement agencies to provide relevant information that aided the investigation.
“We are aware of the recent safety incident and deeply appreciate the local authorities’ efforts to ensure that the two young girls were found and safely reunited with their families. We proactively collaborated with the authorities to provide pertinent information regarding this case that supported the conclusion of this investigation,” Bolt said.
Bolt further said that the company “strongly discourage the use of vehicles that do not match the details on the platform as this was one of the issues that led to this unfortunate incident.”
To address this, Bolt said that its shows riders the driver and car verification details when they request a ride.
“Riders are encouraged to confirm that the driver and car registration details during their pickup match those on the app,” it adds.
Bolt further pointed that they immediately block drivers that exhibit “such behavior.”
As a safety measure, Bolt stated that they also introduced the driver selfie check feature on the platform to enhance safety and prevent driver impersonation and account sharing.
It added that their driver and rider apps also have an SOS emergency button that can be used to alert and seek for security and/or first-response medical assistance at any time during an active trip.
Bolt reiterated its commitment to the safety of their drivers and riders.
“This is why we strongly encourage all riders and drivers to report any incidents to our Customer Support team through our in-app support feature, accessible from the Bolt application menu or via email@example.com,” Bolt said.
The statement comes amidst a number of complaints from Bolt customers who have raised concern over the conduct of some of the drivers.