Kenya’s ride-hailing firms mobilise to back COVID-19 fight
Three ride-hailing services in Kenya: SWVL, LittleCab and Bolt have offered various services to support essential workers and vulnerable groups as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact the East African country.
To date Kenya has registered 465 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 167 recoveries and 24 deaths.
SWVL is offering doctors organised transport and is also distributing much-needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The company issued a statement which reads in part:“The Ministry of Health has set up a call hotline (719) where members of the public can get more information on the Coronavirus. To support this initiative, SWVL, a member of the NBCC, has provided vehicles to transport the doctors working on this initiative from their homes to the call centre and back in the safest manner possible.”
Leaders of the various ride hailing services have also been engaged to distribute food and other essentials in partnership with non-governmental organisation SOMO. This will ensure drivers secure work at a time when transport revenues are dwindling.
Bolt has partnered with Kenya Healthcare Federation (KFH) to offer free rides for expectant mothers during the curfew set in Nairobi, running from 7pm to 5pm.
Bolt will work in liaison with existing call centres manned by medical personnel that can be able to screen and assess the severity of cases and advise on nearest facility and aid in getting transport to them during the night time.
Near-term women will be required to call a toll-free line (1196), to have access to these services.
Ola Akinnusi, Country Manager, Bolt said, “There is thus an urgent need for proper systems to be in place to support them during pregnancy-related emergencies. Our aim is to facilitate the movement of expectant mothers during emergencies related to labour from their homes to the approved health facility of their choice in a safe, convenient and timely manner.”
LittleCab has also offered new guidelines to enable transportation within its ecosystem, including one passenger per car and up to seven people in its shuttles, down from the previous allowed volume of 15.
The transport sector in Kenya has been hard hit with social distancing directives and curfew set in various towns to curb the spread of COVID-19.