Motorbike taxi apps jostle for trade

LAGOS: Banker Yemi Adegbola used to leave his home in Lagos before 4 am each day, but would still arrive late to work because of the notorious traffic in Nigeria’s biggest city. Now he says he has “dumped his car” for one of a raft of new motorbike ride hailing apps that developers hope can speed up journeys for the roughly 20 million residents of the economic capital.

For years the jams — known locally as “go-slows” — have been a nightmare for Lagosians.
Potholed roads, reckless driving and too many cars have helped turn the daily commute into an ordeal that often lasts for hours.

ORide driver decked out in bib and helmet in company colours checking apps to respond to calls from client in Lagos, on August 30. Photo: AFP

People miss appointments and business suffers as one of Africa’s largest markets grinds to a standstill.
Sensing an opportunity, a growing number of ride hailing services have stepped into the chaos — bringing order to the “okada” motorbike taxis that have long whizzed perilously around Lagos.

First to launch was Gokada in 2018, pioneering an Uber-style system for two-wheeled transport that had already been successfully rolled out by firms elsewhere.

It has since been followed by other operators like Maxokada and ORide — and the competitors are looking to overtake each other with better technology, lower prices and more services.

Before these startups, Lagosians in a hurry had to put their faith in the army of unregulated “okada” riders weaving hazardously through the traffic. – AFP