Bolt, a European on-demand transportation service company has pointed out poor telecommunications infrastructure to be one of the elements hindering the advancement of urban transportation here in Nigeria.
This statement was made by Bolt's Regional Manager for West Africa, Uche Okafor in Lagos State. It was just coming after the company was reported to have been funded by its investors to the tune of $175 million. The investors are Didi Chuxing, Daimler, TransferWise and Korelya Capital.
Previously known as Taxify, Bolt is a prime European transportation service company that provides an easy, quick and more reliable urban travel services in the country. The recent funding figures generated by Bolt has put the transportation service company ahead of other competitors like Uber which pulled in $19 million, Didi at $20 million, Grab at $7 million, Lyft at $5 million and Ola following behind at $4 million.
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The Regional Manager said that the difficulties that come from trying to link up with the poor telecommunication networks common in the country always affects the processing of payments between clients (riders) and the drivers making use of the globalized value chain in urban transportation
Naijauto.com also gathered that former Taxify, now Bolt, has since its existence five years ago, been planning to expand their service operations in the country beyond Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Benin, and Owerri.
Okafor stated again that more Nigerians are now accepting urban transportation services with their brand, Bolt. And that since its establishment, they've been able to serve over 24 million riders (customers) in more than 30 countries across Europe and Africa.
He also said the rationale behind the Brand's change of identity was to reflect its broader vision of urban transportation as they’ve expanded by going from ride-hailing to scooter sharing. He made mention of plans in progress to expand to other ventures like food vending and courier services.
In the midst of the telecommunication challenges being experienced Bolt intends going into electric transportation when there's an improvement in technological infrastructure.
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Okafor said the brand is now in partnership with the Nigerian police force to help sort out identity issues with drivers so as to boost customers’ confidence. Bolt has also signed a pact with a telecommunication provider with the name Smile communications to provide high-speed internet services for Bolt drivers in the locations they operate in.
Here is the Regional Manager's statement.
Though Bolt is a few years in operations in Nigeria, as a player in the urban transportation value chain we are grappling with huge concerns including poor telecommunications network.
There infrastructure dearth in Nigeria. Our drivers need good telecommunications network to connect with their customers especially in the area of processing payment for transactions. This is why we have acquired Smile bundles as part of the technology boost needed for the business. Another challenge is that some areas have poor mapping, and our drivers find it hard to access such locations. If issues concerning poor telecommunications infrastructure is addressed , adequate mapping on the global positioning systems and higher internet penetration, the business could be better.
On the change of brand identity, he said this:
While we have made progress on our mission, we have started to outgrow parts of our brand, including the name. Given our ambition to solve transportation problems on an increasingly broader scale, we want the brand to reflect the company’s future rather than the past.
Okafor said they plan on increasing the growth for on-demand transport service from 4% to 28% by 2028.
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