Startup Profile: Escape Lagos Traffic with Gokada, the Uber of Okada Riders
Uber is not the only company that has recognized the value in the ride-sharing economy but its model is the most revolutionary. Powered by tech, Uber has simplified ride-hailing and invariably disrupted the taxi business. Now, one Nigerian company is borrowing from Uber’s playbook.
Gokada, a Nigerian startup, is also using tech to transform the transport business in Lagos. While Uber disrupted taxis, Gokada has eyes on a more unsuspecting business: bike hailing. Founded in 2017, the service wants to change the way we take bikes (Okada) in Lagos.
Requesting a Gokada ride is easy – open the app, enter a pick up location, tap request ride, a verified Gokada driver will call to confirm your request, your driver arrives in minutes & starts your trip, gets you to your destination safely, you pay cash & rate your driver. pic.twitter.com/a73Jt0O6xZ
— #LagosTrafficReports (@TrafficChiefNG) June 7, 2018
How Gokada Works
Every Lagos resident shares one thing in common: they know Lagos sucks due to traffic! Lagos’ traffic stretches on for hours in mostly tight roads, with very few alternative routes exist. This complicates movement and makes it hard for residents to arrive their destinations on time when they drive.
Okadas to the rescue!
Swerving through the Lagos traffic, Okadas offer the best alternative to beat the traffic. Although they charge more, people are willing to pay Okada riders if it saves them the delay caused by Lagos traffic.
The average lagosian spends 5800 minutes in Traffic, Dont be average.
— Baba Ibeji (@Marapolsa) June 7, 2018
Stealing from Uber’s revolutionary model, Gokada has developed an Okada ride-hailing platform for Lagos residents. With promises of cheaper fares and faster movement, the service could be a huge goldmine for Lagosians and a possible threat to Uber.
For riders too, Gokada offers an in-road to freelancing. Judging by the popularity of Uber, riders could expect the same benefits when they join.
To get started with the service, users have to download the Gokada’s app and request a ride. Using geo-location technology, the service will send the closest registered Okada rider to your location.
Challenges for Gokada?
Gokada’s innovation is pretty thrilling really, and it sounds very workable. But is it going to be that easy?
For one, commercial motorcycles are being forced off major highways in Lagos. Over the last 10 years, different governments in Lagos have put in place several policies that restrict the movement of commercial motorcyclists. Gokada would need to get special recognition from the government to ensure registered bike riders are not harassed.
Also, Gokada bikers are not its “employees”, they are freelancers. And once the service becomes mainstream, it would be interesting to see how the service addresses this concern if bikers begin to demand recognition from the service. This is presently a huge concern for Uber.
Additionally, bike riders in Nigeria are not necessarily the most literate people and a large number of them are also not exactly tech-savvy. This means that a lot would have to be done to educate the bikers on the app and how to use the service.
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