Bolt encourages drivers to take advantage of R1.1bn Taxi Relief Fund

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  • Bolt welcomed the Department of Transport's announcement of a R1.1 billion Covid-19 Taxi Relief Fund to assist transport operators affected by the pandemic.
  • Head of public policy Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar said Bolt appreciated government's recognition of e-hailing as an important transport Industry.
  • Gasnolar encouraged Bolt's 25 000 drivers in South Africa to apply for the relief fund if they qualified.

European electronic ride hailing service Bolt has encouraged its drivers in South Africa that qualify to do so, to apply for the Department of Transport's R1.1 billion Taxi Relief Fund.

The fund is aimed at softening the blow of the Covid-19 pandemic on taxi and other public and private transport operators.

Bolt has 100 million customers in 45 countries in Europe and Africa, operating a ride hailing service and food delivery through Bolt Food in South Africa. This adds Bolt drivers to the long line of taxi drivers, cab drivers and other e-hailing drivers expected to seek help from the fund.

Earlier this month, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula announced the R1.1 billion fund to assist drivers whose livelihoods were affected by Covid-19. Mbalula estimated that 227 000 tax-compliant taxi operators with South African Revenue Service (SARS) certificates would likely receive once-off relief to the value of R5000.

Bolt head of public policy for Southern Africa Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar said in the statement that the service welcomed the announcement of the fund and encouraged any of the 25 000 drivers registered with Bolt to take advantage of the assistance.

"Bolt encourages all qualifying e-hailing drivers to apply for their payment from the TRF by the 28 February 2022 deadline to the National Empowerment Fund and Department of Transport, so that payments can be made and received by the end of March this year," said Gasnolar.

Gasnolar said Bolt appreciated government's recognition of e-hailing services as "an important mode of transport" that was distinguishable from the bus companies, taxi operators and other private transport businesses.

"Bolt engaged extensively with the Department of Transport during the initial stages of the lockdown in 2020, encouraging the Department to include e-hailing drivers as essential service providers so that they could continue to offer their services and earn an income," he said.

Mbalula said the Department of Transport had estimated that 20% or more of the taxi industry experienced total loss of income, particularly the long-distance and cross-border operators.

"Almost 20% or more of the taxi industry experienced total loss of income, particularly the long-distance and cross-border operators as a result of the closure of international borders and the prohibition of interprovincial travel," said Mbalula.

Mbalula said applying operators must have a valid operating licence or a receipt as proof of renewal and must be registered with the SARS as a taxpayer.

Minibus taxi operators can apply on the Department of Transport's website, by contacting 0800 201 971 toll free or by SMSing 45864. The application process began on Tuesday and by March.

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