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What to Know About Major Ride-Hailing Apps in Nigeria

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ride-hailing services

Gone are the days when getting transport proved difficult, particularly when it rains, the advent of ride-hailing has changed the status quo. In the digital age, customers need not leave their home or office to go look for a taxi, there are now numerous apps in Nigeria with the e-hailing function.

Each day brings in new innovators to the transport business but e-transport companies like Uber and Bolt have become household names across the world. Not to be left behind, Oga Taxi is a strong contender in Nigeria’s e-transport industry.

In Nigeria, Uber‘s competitors are so good and this is evident in how hard it is to classify other e-transport companies as Uber —this is in huge contrast to how Nigerians refer to other food seasonings as Maggi. There are numerous ride-hailing applications available for free download and usage on one’s smartphone, a visit to Google Playstore or Apple store can have you using any of these apps in no time.

But, of the lot on offer, which of these apps is most advisable to make use of?

Well, the most reputable in Nigeria so far are; Uber, Bolt (formerly known as Taxify) and Oga Taxi. These companies offer seamless chauffeur-driven experience, with thousands of licensed drivers, guaranteeing safety for both parties using the e-transport service (drivers and passengers).

Want to know what kind of service to expect from these companies. Below is a brief summary:

Uber: Can be said to be the chairman and forerunner of e-transport across the world. It began operations in 2010 and launched in Nigeria in 2014, with Ice Prince as its first passenger. Uber currently operates in Lagos and Abuja and in 630+ other cities worldwide. Although skepticism is prevalent in Nigeria, Uber has managed to break through the market by amassing loyal customers, averaging thousands of rides weekly.

With the latest upgrade to its driver identity feature (name, picture, contact details, license plate number) passengers are sure of safety. To use the Uber app, customers are required to sign in with their name, email address and phone number thereby making it easy for passengers and drivers to contact each other to confirm the ride and pick up status.

One important feature that remains valuable to Nigerians is the price prediction—most Uber drivers in Nigeria prefer to use the metering system to determine payment therefore, if one is caught in traffic the cab fare is sure to increase. So, to save yourself stress it is advisable to check the price before booking a ride.

For a couple of years Uber has had numerous complaints about the safety of using its cab service; many cases of rape and assault have been reported which were allegedly left ignored by the company. This may be one of the reasons Uber was banned from operating in the UK in 2017. Even in Nigeria, Uber has had a number of negative reviews. Despite these reports people still make use of the e-transport service provided by the company.

Bolt: This is the second largest ride-hailing company. It is present in 30+ countries and continues to expand operations to different cities. Since its launch in (Lagos) Nigeria in 2016, 3 years after it was established in Estonia, it has expanded operations to Abuja, Ibadan, Benin, and recently; Owerri, Uyo and Calabar.

Formerly known as Taxify, until March 2019 when it rebranded, Bolt is similar to Uber in many ways but public opinion claims that it is cheaper than the latter.

Just like Uber, Bolt can be downloaded on iOS or Android stores and requires your email address, name and phone number to sign up. Drivers are also verified and pick up can be tracked.

One thing to note is, of all the e-transport drivers Bolt drivers are fond of asking the passenger’s destination on their way to pickup, if they find the answer unfavourable to them they are known to plead with the customer to cancel the trip (which carries a fine) and might get aggressive if the request is declined. This is a wrongful act to the passenger. If you ever get asked such a question it is in your best interest to call the driver out on it and state that Bolt doesn’t support it–if it did drivers ought to have been given the option of knowing where their customers are heading to before pick up (this information is disclosed on the driver app only when the trip starts).

Uber is not the only one to face complaints and lawsuits. In 2018, Bolt Nigeria was dragged into an assault case that went viral when a Nigerian actress accused a Bolt driver of assault and rape.

Oga Taxi: The indigenous cab-hailing company came into the scene in 2014. It currently operates in Lagos, Abuja and Owerri.

It also offers driver information, to ensure safety and security, and requires passenger’s information for sign up on its app which can also be downloaded from iOS and Android stores.

Considering the budgets of its customers, Oga Taxi offers ride-pooling; if you share your ride with another customer you get to save 40% off the fare. You can choose the classic ride if you want to be chauffeur-driven alone.

Although not as popular as Bolt and Uber, Oga Taxi has its customer base and is one e-transport company giving the more popular companies a run for their money in Nigeria.

Don’t want a taxi? You might prefer Gokada instead.

Gabriella Opara
is a Lagos based writer who illustrates with words and travels the world through the doors of books. Asides from being a journalist she is also a book review blogger who moonlights as a poet and artist and is passionate about creativity and self-development. Going skydiving and visiting the Himalayas is on her tourism to-do list but for now she makes do with reading about the adventures of Frodo in The Lord of the Rings and being in awe of The Last Watch documentary.

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