Bike-hailing startup Gokada is shutting down operations from Wednesday, August 14 to Monday, August 26, 2019. The reason for this temporary shutdown is to revamp its operations.
This development was revealed in a medium post by CEO of Gokada, Fahim Saleh. He said the change was necessitated by the operational issues and increased competition they were experiencing.
Increased competition, regulatory hurdles, and operational issues have forced us to make this decision. We thank all our loyal users and are truly sorry for this inconvenience.Fahim Saleh , CEO of Gokada
Understanding the Reasons for the Shut Down
Speaking on experiencing the problem first hand, Saleh acknowledged some operational issues which he discovered when he tried using Gokada’s services recently.
I opened the Gokada app, requested, got a pilot, and waited patiently for him to arrive. I called to confirm my location which the pilot said he knew. 5 minutes pass by.. and the pilot had not moved. Another 5 minutes pass and the pilot was going in the wrong direction. After 15 minutes and three phone calls, the pilot finally arrived at which point I’m thinking it might have been faster to take a car all the way through.”Fahim Saleh
Similarly, a Nigerian Kayode Aina also shared the problems he encountered using the app. Aina said most of the Gokada riders around Eko hotel roundabout do not usually come online.
Another key problem area highlighted by Saleh is the increased competition among bike hailing services especially in Lagos. Strong competitors like MAX.ng and Oride have been challenging Gokada for dominance in the market.
The ride hailing company launched in the Lagos metropolis in 2017 and since then it has been operating in a regulation grey area. However, the ride hailing market will have to face a proposed N25M License Fee by Lagos State government.
Gokada 2.0 Initiative: what to Expect and how it Affects Gokada’s Operations
Gokada has in the last few years shown that it is big on changing the bike market in terms of safety, convenience, and transparency. In light of its recent challenges, the startup has now announced its Gokada 2.0 initiative.
It has revealed that the Gokada 2.0 initiative would be a rehabilitation of its operation plan: new and better-quality bikes with better aesthetic appeal. The new bikes will attract many who love the idea of driving fancy. It could also give the needed advantage in the competitive ride hailing market where attracting users in is important.
Gokada says this new plan will include an improvement in customer service, hygiene. Safe driving and Google Map assisted navigation will be taught to their pilots.
Will a Temporary Shutdown Hurt Gokada in the Long Run?
It is not clear how much the company will be losing while it takes the time to revamp. But this planned overhaul could mean good business when it returns.
Better use of Google Maps by Gokada pilots could greatly improve the user experience as less time to destinations will be achieved.
Improved safety measures, maximum speed, conforming to traffic laws and the introduction of Bluetooth enabled helmets will definitely be a hit with passengers.
The ride hailing market especially in Lagos is no doubt competitive. And Gokada closing operations for a week will see some of their user’s port to competitors like MAX.ng and ORide. However, if the upgrades and changes considerably improves their user experience, then the shut down may be a gamble that might pay off.