13 September 2018

Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Embracing Ride Hailing Could Be a Cheaper Alternative to Vehicle Ownership – Okafor interview

The Country Manager of Taxify, Uche Okafor, in this interview speaks on how the transportation network company is making commuting more accessible and pleasurable and getting more Nigerians to appreciate the value of ride-hailing.

How easy was it convincing people to adopt this new method of commuting?

What we have found is that all people need is the chance to experience Taxify. Ultimately, they realise on their own that using Taxify allows them to really enjoy other experiences. Time is a luxury and in most of our major cities in Nigeria, we spend a great deal of time commuting. Commute time can be so much more productive if we aren't spending it navigating traffic.

The value of your time is something that I don't think most people account for at all when it comes to transportation, people might understand it in the sense that they realize how long it takes them to get to work, but we're not really internalizing what an alternative might be and whether or not it would save them money.

Excitingly, everyday, we're working to make Taxify even more affordable and accessible to Nigerians so that riding Taxify is cheaper than owning a vehicle when you factor in everything from the value of the car to fuel prices and maintenance. The non-intuitive thing about our business model is that the cheaper the service gets, the better the service experience is. Again, time is a luxury and when the price goes down, you have more riders because more riders can afford it. But it also means that more driver-partners come on the platform and that pick up times get even shorter.

How did Taxify become a huge success in Nigeria?

Taxify launched in 2016 at a time when the Nigerian market was desirous for a safe, affordable and reliable way to move. From 2016 till date, we've seen remarkable market growth and more importantly a paradigm shift in the way that people think about transportation. We see that people, particularly young people are prioritizing access over ownership and moving from desiring to purchase vehicles to wanting affordable rides at the tap of a button. This is what Taxify has been about and will continue to be about: delivering best in class ride-hailing services to people across Nigeria.

What measures are in place to ensure riders are safe using this service?

Taxify is dedicated to keeping people safe on the roads. Our technology enables us focus on rider safety before, during and after every trip. Before the trip, our priority is first making sure that you get a safe and reliable ride. This means that every driver goes through an onboarding process before coming on the platform and as such, when you're paired with a driver, you see their name, licence plate number, photo and rating- so you know who's picking you up ahead of time. Even after the trip, you're able to contact your driver if you forget an item in the vehicle.

During the trip, you can share your estimated time of arrival with your loved ones so they know exactly where you are and when to expect you. After the trip, you can leave a rating to your driver-partner anonymously and provide feedback on your ride experience that we regularly review and use to improve quality. We also have best in class support trained to respond to any questions you have about your trip and help retrieve forgotten items.

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