25 March 2021: The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) condemns Bolt CEO Markus Villig for “negligence” after private hire driver Muhammad Alam threatened at knife point on 19 March by passengers while on a job for Bolt, demonstrating a failure to improve safety measures as demanded by IWGB following the stabbing of Bolt driver Gabriel Bringye on 17 February 2021.
Private hire driver Muhammad Alam was punched in the face by passengers while on a trip for Bolt on Friday evening at 8pm in Chingford and then threatened at knife point by the assailants to hand over his keys after which they stole his car. See photo below of injuries sustained by Muhammad. Muhammad’s assailants made use of a stolen phone to book the Bolt trip attempting to remain unidentified.
On 17 February, IWGB member and Bolt driver Gabriel Bringye was stabbed while on a job for Bolt. The assailants made use of a fake account.
Following Gabriel Bringye’s murder, the IWGB’s United Private Hire Drivers branch called on Bolt CEO Markus Villig to implement improved safety protections for drivers, such as tougher ID requirements for passengers, including a photograph on the app visible to drivers, to allow drivers to assess if a passenger was a verified Bolt app user.
The IWGB also launched a petition calling for Bolt CEO Markus Villig to improve driver safety protections following the murder of Gabriel Bringye here.
Bolt has failed to implement these measures or engage with the IWGB regarding this matter.
Muhammad Alam, Bolt driver and IWGB member threatened at knife point, said: “I had my car stolen from me at knife point while on a job for Bolt last week. Since this happened to me I have been scared to go back to work again, but I have to in order to support my family. Bolt must urgently improve the safety measures they have in place to protect drivers so this does not happen again to me or any other driver.
My assailants used a stolen phone to book the Bolt job where they punched me, threatened to stab me and then stole my car. Bolt must introduce photo requirements for customers in their app so drivers like me can tell if the person getting in my cab is the right person.
I am not the only driver this has happened to. In February another driver called Gabriel Bringye who was a member of my union - the United Private Hire Drivers - was stabbed by his passengers while on a job for Bolt. His assailants were also using a stolen phone. I could well have ended up dead like Gabriel. Bolt must make its app safe for drivers now before another person is killed.”
Nader Awaad, Vice Chair of IWGB’s United Private Hire Drivers branch, said: “After the horrific stabbing of private hire driver Gabriel Bringye while on a job for Bolt we called on Bolt’s CEO Markus Villig to implement safety measures so this would never happen again. This recent attack on another driver Muhammad shows the necessity of the safety measures we have been calling for. Markus Villig’s failure to implement improved protections for drivers after Gabriel’s death nearly cost Muhammad his life. This is negligence and Bolt must take action now to ensure their drivers are safe. It is unacceptable if a passenger loses a phone someone else can order a job using their name to commit a crime. It’s Bolt’s responsibility to ensure that their account can be accessed by the account holder only.”
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