Gabriel's Life Matters: Drivers Deserve Safety

Markus Villig, Bolt CEO

On 17 February private hire driver Gabriel Bringye was stabbed while on a job for Bolt.

Gabriel's murder is shocking and saddening for all private hire drivers and his family and his community are devastated.

Sadly, Gabriel's murder is not an isolated incident. Four private hire drivers have been stabbed and died in the last few years in London. Thousands of drivers have been physically assaulted while on the job. Many many more have experienced verbal abuse.

These things are related. Some passengers think they can do anything to a driver and no-one will care. Drivers are treated with total disrespect like we are second class citizens. Abuse and violence towards drivers has become accepted as a routine part of the job, with little to no support provided by operators and the authorities. We will take this no longer.

Gabriel could have been any one of us. Let us stand together for justice for Gabriel and better safety for all drivers.

Sign the petition to call on Bolt CEO Markus Villig to improve safety protections for private hire drivers, and also to be kept updated about the campaign and how you can get involved.

To: Markus Villig, Bolt CEO
From: Charlie Macnamara

Dear Markus Villig,

On 17 February, Bolt driver Gabriel Bringye was murdered while on a job. This tragedy has shocked and saddened all of us and has devastated Gabriel's family and community.

Sadly, this incident is not an isolated one. There have been multiple similar incidents over the last few years. These murders are the most extreme end of what can happen in an industry where abuse and violence by passengers towards drivers is rife. Thousands of drivers have been physically assaulted over the last few years while on the job. Many many more have been verbally abused.

These things are related. Some passengers think they can do anything to a driver and no-one will care. Drivers are treated with total disrespect and like second class citizens. ​Abuse and violence towards drivers has become accepted as a routine part of the job, with little to no support provided by operators, such as Bolt, and the authorities. We will accept this no longer.

Bolt must act immediately to improve safety protections for private hire drivers. We demand:

• Bolt to install a system for checking in on drivers who are stationary for a long time to check if they are in danger and call for support if they do not respond, as well as implementing proper systems to support drivers in distress.​ When Gabriel was found he had been in one place for 300 minutes on a job with his app running​ and Bolt did not even notice.

• Bolt to implement tougher ID requirements for passengers - no-one should be able to book a ride without Bolt having their verified name & address. The driver should also be able to see a photo of the customer in the app. In Gabriel's case, the ride on which he was murdered was booked on a fake Bolt account.

• Bolt must fix their complaints system and make a meaningful commitment to take action over driver complaints about abusive or threatening behaviour by passengers. Currently, drivers will often get deactivated and lose their livelihoods with no fair process after minor complaints from passengers or a low rating, but there have been multiple instances where drivers have complained about physical violence and abuse and been ignored by app-based operators.

• Bolt to pay for drivers to install CCTV and plastic screens in their vehicles.

• Bolt to support a culture shift in how drivers are treated by ending routine lack of respect shown to its drivers by Bolt itself, including ending unfair driver rating systems and routine unfair deactivations.

​• Bolt to commit to meet regularly with private hire driver trade union representatives to ensure ongoing support and safety improvements for drivers.

Bolt must also commit to providing support and compensation to Gabriel's family.

We expect to hear promptly from you regarding these demands and steps you will take to improve driver safety.

Yours sincerely,