In Lagos, Nigeria, which is notorious for its terrible transportation system and lingering traffic situation, the idea of an on-demand flexible transportation service to get around its trafficcongestion has been warmly embraced by millions of people. This has resulted in the increased patronage of ride hailing apps like Uber, Bolt (formerly known as Taxify), etc.
However, when customers search through their phones’ app stores for options of ride-hailing apps, cars are no longer the only vehicles that pop up; motorbikes have made their way into the digital system. In the last few months, motorbike hailing startups have become major players in the city’s transport ecosystem. Interestingly, the stiff competition there is growing every day, as investors and customers continue to explore their options.
As the number of contenders increases, new entrants are mapping out ways to undercut the competition and drive patronage to their own apps. ORide, the latest motorbike hailing app, has been using some strategies with arguable success. But how sustainable is its business model?
Why Lagosians embraced motorbike hailing services
Commercial motorcycles have existed in the state for decades. However, due to the fact that motorcyclists have, on multiple occasions, demonstrated recklessness at the expense of their passengers’ lives, Lagosians have been warned against patronising them. During the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola in Lagos, these motorbikes were even banned from plying major roads within the state.
With the obvious risks faced by passengers, an opportunity presented itself for the relatively new motorbike hailing startups, which have been able to penetrate the market space by providing safer options. These startups emphasize on features such as:
- carrying only one passenger at a time.
- Passengers compulsorily wear helmets.
- Training of riders to comply with traffic laws.
- Treating their customers with respect.
Having gained traction in the market space, existing motorbike hailing firms have no doubt been able to pull strong customer bases from motorbike passengers in the state.
Investors’ interests in the motorbike hailing industry
The motorbike hailing industry has attracted funding from many investors, as millions of dollars have since been invested in Gokada and Max.ng’s businesses.
About a year and some months after establishment, Gokada was able to raise funding of up to $5.3 million from Rise Capital, Adventure Capital, IC Global Partners and First MidWest Group.
While ORide’s investors are still undisclosed, Max.ng has, similar to Gokada, received a funding of $1.1 million from Right Side Capital Management, Shell Foundation, and Techstars.
The jostle for customers
With the recent launch of ORide, the competition in the industry appears to have received a boost. This is because the newest entrant into the digital motorbike hailing industry is penetrating the market with an offer that is “too good to snub.” Many Nigerians are resorting to using ORide, thereby dumping the platform’s main and existing competitors, Gokada and Max.ng.
What is ORide doing differently?
ORide is fast penetrating the market by leveraging on the N100 bonus offer to any destination of any distance within Lagos. This move has attracted the competitors’ customers, at least for the meantime till the promo ends. It is yet to be known what else the company plans to do in order to return its growing customer base.
ORide is one of the multiple services Opera Software (owners of Opera Mini) introduced through Opay, a newly-launched payment platform.
Are Customers Satisfied with ORide’s service?
With the promo offer, many have explored the option of using ORide ahead of Gokada and Max. Unfortunately, many have experienced disappointments with ORide’s service, though some experienced satisfaction.
In his review of the ORide’s service, one Al-Mustapha Hassan said;
“This app is awesome and amazing, my first experience when ordered a ride through the app, the rider was a very experienced and skillful rider.”
More so, Alade Temitope commented that she “took a ride and it was fantastic… Oride, always on point.”
Contrary to Hassan and Temitope’s stance on the ORide app, Divine Nwankerendu recently posted the following harsh words;
“It’s the worst ride ever ..made over 10 requests today and it all took like 20 minutes each to find a rider ..thank God i didn’t have anywhere going i just wanted to try out the app I even had to treck to various point to see if a rider would be found..I later found one and he told me to wait for another 10 minutes after waiting for over 20 minutes pls take down the system it’s rubbish.”
Similarly, one who identified himself as TBS commented as follows;
“This App is stupid and should be wiped away!! I requested for a driver for almost an hour !! The time literally counted for an hour, and i saw no driver !! Gokada is way better abeg.”
Yet another customer who identified himself as Mikel Soggy, reviewed the app thus;
“After registration I can’t order ride except I fund my opay account which I did but was suprised my money was deducted and Opay did not credit the account then later told me the transaction failed. For me, your app is another form of fraud (yahoo yahoo) no transparency… Gokada and Max kada are not like this at all.”
Seun Shotonwa also joined the league of those who experienced disappointments with ORide. He said,
“I ordered, the rider was at lekki and he started the ride without seeing the client. When she called him, he said he was sorry, that he’s on the island. Map showed he’s somewhere at lekki.”
At the moment, ORide is operating on OPay, which is a payment platform. The platform is a mobile wallet for android devices which renders multiple services at a time. This is leverage that Gokada and Max.ng do not have for now.
In view of the increasing investments in the motorbike hailing industry, ORide should be ready for some serious competition. Even with the promo offer, a large number of customers have been disappointed with the hailing startup, many of whom had high expectations.
With the disclosed intention of Gokada to add a yacht hailing service to its operations, and the revamped policies to improve its services, there is a need for other motorbike hailing companies to raise the bar with their services.