That both Uber and Bolt have revolutionised the commercial transport sector in Ghana is not an understatement. Before the advent of these two transport companies, the services of taxis held sway. It was the most reliable form of commercial transport, if one wanted to quickly move from one place to the other. The setback though, was that the passenger had to direct the driver to his or her destination.
But Uber and Bolt came to settle, once and for all, these frustrations passengers went through. Because these transport companies are using modern technology, they are able to convey their patrons to their destinations without the passenger necessarily directing them, as in the case of taxi services. One does not also need to walk to the roadside before acquiring their services. It is easy for the person requesting for a service to sit in the comfort of his or her home and call for a ride.
Apart from the convenience it has created for commuters, both Uber and Bolt are also employing hundreds, if not thousands, of our educated youth who would have been idling at home and crying for jobs. Even some permanent workers have become employees of Uber and Bolt, where they work after close from their regular jobs. This rakes in extra income to cater for family needs.
But, despite all these contributions Uber and Bolt are making towards the development of the economy, the sector is also fraught with problems. Criminals seem to have infiltrated their ranks and using the names of these two companies to, either dupe of kill innocent people. About five or so months ago, there were reports from Kumasi about the killing of a Bolt driver by a passenger who hired him.
To date, the said passenger has not been traced. And just this week, a Bolt driver reported to us in Accra that he was attacked by passengers who requested his service. Though he reported the incident to Bolt and the police, the two have not made any inroads. Bolt, according to the driver victim, told him that they could not trace the passenger who requested his services, and that the criminals seem to have stopped using the phone number.
Clearly, if Uber and Bolt have been registering people on their platforms insisting on proper documentation such as recognised national identity cards, this criminal conduct of passengers attacking their drivers would have been minimised. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as all what one needed to access the service is to download the app and use his or her telephone number to request the service.
In a nutshell, the transport companies do not have any detailed data on passengers requesting the service. It is, therefore, not surprising that criminals have spotted the loophole and expertly exploiting it.
With the ongoing re-registration of all SIM cards using only the Ghana Card, we believe the solution to the problem is in sight. However, between now and March next year when the re-registration is supposed to come to an end, both Uber and Bolt must up their game by putting interim measures in place.
These interim measures must include an order to those using their apps to register only with the Ghana Card, which can be tracked. Since life, they say, is precious, Uber and Bolt have the responsibility of safeguarding their drivers so that they can stay alive to work and boost their investments.