Bolt, the ride-hailing company, has proposed introducing a National Identification Number (NIN) verification system for users (riders) starting in 2024. This announcement was made by Yahaya Mohammed, the Country Manager, during a media briefing at the new office and Driver Engagement Centre in Lagos.
As part of its commitment to enhancing safety and security for both drivers and passengers on its platform, Bolt will also implement random selfie verification for drivers. The company has prioritized driver verification in the current year and is now turning its attention to authenticating riders in the coming year.
Yahaya Mohammed explained, “In terms of major plans for 2024, we are looking to rider verifications to ensure that we also know who our riders are and authenticate anybody who is registering on the platform.”
To address concerns about data protection and privacy, Weyinmi Aghadiuno, the Senior Public Policy Manager for West Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa, clarified that Bolt has Data Processing Officers (DPO) and a Data Protection Certificate issued by NITDA. The company will only use user data for immediate verification, crosschecking against the National Identification Number (NIN) without storing it.
This move comes in response to recent incidents, such as the shooting of three e-hailing drivers in Port Harcourt and Abuja. The President of the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria had previously called for the use of NIN to verify passengers, a suggestion now being implemented by Bolt.
Bolt is also introducing additional safety measures, including random selfie verification for drivers, a shift-limit feature to ensure drivers get adequate rest, in-trip insurance to compensate for injuries or damage during trips, and a trip-sharing initiative for sharing details with trusted contacts.
Yahaya Mohammed emphasized that the selfie verification process is randomized, occurring at different times each week, making it challenging for drivers to fake profiles. Additionally, Bolt’s shift-limit feature aims to prevent overworked drivers by automatically logging them out after a designated time.
As part of the safety initiatives, the company unveiled an audio trip recording feature, serving as evidence in case of disputes between riders and drivers. Bolt aims to enhance the overall safety and security of its platform, especially during the festive period.