Nigerian technology-powered transport company, GIG Mobility (GIGM) has launched in Ghana, its first foray outside of Nigeria. Launching operations on Friday in the capital city of Accra, the company wants to provide great customer experience for commuters across Africa.
By expanding to Ghana the company wants to help Ghanaians move around their cities and to Nigeria easily, hence it is providing both intra and inter-country travel options for users. Intra travels being Accra to Kumasi (and fro) and inter-country transportation being Accra to Nigeria (and fro).
According to its Chief Operating Officer (COO), Vuakpor Muoghereh, the expansion into Ghana is in line with the company’s agenda to reach across Africa, “changing the perception of how transport companies operate with the use of technology”.
It only made sense that the company starts its international expansion with a country that also has a rich market that is yet to be fully explored and close to home, like Ghana.
Its launch in Ghana makes it the first international company to operate intercity transportation within Ghana commencing operation in the two most populous cities in the country, Accra and Kumasi. The company, however, plans to launch across the 16 regions of Ghana in the not too distant future, while also expanding its presence across Africa
— beginning with East Africa.
Uber-like model for intra-city transportation
In order to make its service flexible for Ghanaians to use, the company is launching a pickup model for its intra-city transportation. Using its seamless mobile application, users can book for travel and meet up with the bus at the stipulated landmarks close to them.
This is laudable as it saves users the time and money of going to GIGM’s terminal in Kumasi or Accra, and also saves GIGM from having physical infrastructure at every bus stop – reiterating its ambition of becoming a full-fledged technology transport company.
This model is quite similar to the ones employed by bus-hailing startups, OBus, Plentywaka and co.
Also, technology is one thing the company is hoping to use to scale its local competition. This is because unlike most other competing transport companies where users will have to wait and fill up the bus, the use of GIGM’s mobile app and web platforms allows users book for travel tickets from the comfort of their homes.
GIGM is also pioneering a ticketing machine that allows its staffs book tickets of customers anywhere at anytime. This is to augment the use of computers.
And this shift towards being a technology company enabling transportation was what saw it change its brand name in September this year from GIG Motors to GIG Mobility – projecting its identity as a true technology transport company.
GIGM is also hoping to use this model to instil the “culture of timeliness in Ghanaians and Africans as a whole”.
Users that miss their bus because of poor time management will have to pay a subtle penalty when they want to reschedule their travel. This is because all GIGM trips are scheduled, so the absence of a user disrupts this schedule.
Challenges so far in the Ghanaian market
While there are a lot of similarities between Nigeria and Ghana, there are also differences as well. And these could pose a challenge to the company. GIGM’s COO, Vuakpor, mentioned technology penetration and cultural differences to be some challenges faced in the market.
Which is why GIGM is adding a mobile money payment option to its booking platforms. This is to deepen the use of its platforms since Ghana is one of the fastest-growing mobile money (MoMo) markets in Africa.
Vuakpour also mentioned the border tensions between Nigeria and its neighbouring countries as a challenge. But the company is assured that its expertise in the field and proper processing will help ease this.
Like its Nigerian business, GIGM is also launching its enterprise partner program in Ghana. This allows people interested in venturing into the transport business to partner with GIGM with their vehicles, while GIGM handles the activities and running of the buses under its platform.
This method could make expansion in each of the countries it has presence in seamless as it will not have to worry about the acquisition of new fleets, but rather concentrate on its technology infrastructure.
Currently the platform is offering a discount on rides to users for the next few weeks. Intra-city transportation in Ghana will currently cost 30GHC, while Nigeria to Ghana and back will cost N16,000.
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