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Bolt vs Uber in Kenya; Which App Should You Use?

When researching online, it’s often found that Uber is the preferred choice over Bolt. In this article, we’ll compare Bolt and Uber as ride-sharing apps to help you determine the best option for your travel needs. Additionally, I’ll share my own negative experiences. Uber boasts better vetting and safety measures, while Bolt drivers are perceived as cheaper but potentially rude.

Generally, these ride-sharing apps are better value than taxis in Nairobi, Bolt charges a base fare of KSh 33 per Km, Uber at KSh 65, and taxis at a whooping KSh 240.

Uber vs Bolt

Affordability & Availability

I frequently observe Uber charging 30-40% higher fares for the same journey. The minimum you can pay for Uber is KES 170.

Bolt generally offers lower prices, but Uber tends to have superior and faster availability.

Uber drivers rarely cancel rides, whereas I often encounter difficulties securing a Bolt driver on the first attempt, as they may cancel if they receive a more lucrative trip offer.

Safety First

Without a doubt, Uber prioritizes safety by diligently addressing complaints and holding drivers accountable, resulting in significantly fewer safety concerns compared to Bolt. Bolt drivers have gained notoriety for their aggressive and rude behavior, with incidents such as the kidnapping of two girls in 2023 drawing widespread criticism towards the company.

In terms of safety, especially for women, I would strongly recommend using Uber.

Driver’s Dynamics

Uber compensates its drivers significantly better than Bolt does, and Bolt drivers often express disgust for discounts, sometimes resorting to aggressive behavior if passengers use them.

Many drivers are registered with both platforms but prioritize Bolt rides as a last resort due to the considerably lower pay compared to Uber. This could explain the difficulty in finding available Bolt drivers.

Bolt drivers have been known to engage in unprofessional and deceptive practices, such as insisting on cash payments despite the service accepting card transactions. While cash payments may streamline cash flow for drivers, they contradict the convenience of card payments, which can take time to process and reach the driver’s account.

Additionally, Bolt drivers may arrive in vehicles with different license plates, request additional payments—especially if passengers have luggage—and sometimes refuse to drop passengers off at their exact destinations, citing arbitrary reasons such as “we are here” according to the map.

Although enforcement practices may vary between Bolt and Uber, Uber typically maintains stricter standards, including deactivating drivers with ratings below 4.6. While this may seem harsh, it serves as a deterrent against poor service quality.

Instances of Bolt drivers deviating from the designated route, opting for long routes that benefit them, and then demanding additional payment are not uncommon.

Some drivers even accept rides without confirming the destination and subsequently refuse to complete the trip, leaving passengers inconvenienced and frustrated.

Customer Service

Bolt falls short in every aspect except for being budget-friendly, and they lack concern for issues like lost luggage. I had an incident where I left my phone behind, and despite my efforts to contact support, the process was cumbersome.

However, after confirming that the driver indeed had my phone, Bolt took disciplinary action, resulting in the driver being suspended for three days. He even personally reached out to return my phone, urging me to notify support so he could be reinstated.

Although I’ve never had to seek assistance from Uber, it is reputed to provide exceptional customer support, with issues typically being resolved within a day.

So I would say Uber is generally better in prompt action.

Thoughts? Bolt vs Uber

I have both ride-sharing apps installed, and for a considerable period, I would opt for the one offering the lowest fare until the other app detected my inactivity and issued a discount code.

Consequently, I’d switch to the discounted option, only for the cycle to repeat as the other app recognized my decreased usage and countered with its offer. This back-and-forth pattern persisted for quite some time!

Ultimately, despite the higher cost, I would recommend sticking with Uber for the reliability it offers. However, for those who heavily rely on Bolt’s promotional offers to manage expenses, Uber’s pricing may seem excessively high.


Nairobi Transportation Options

Guide to Nairobi Airport: (NBO) Jomo Kenyatta-JKIA

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