Naijauto remembers that when Uber arrived in Nigeria, it was an opportunity sent from above as many car owners tapped into it in no time. This was a period when banks laid off workers in droves, and with limited opportunities in the financial sectors, former corporate company employees became corporate taxi drivers.
But tides are fast changing as the means of corporate transportation is shifting to motorbikes known as Okadas.
The increase in traffic has caused a lot of citizens hardship and money - Gokada to the rescue!
Uber was available in most developed cities of Nigeria like Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Abuja, and business was good, as a corporate means of transporting commuters within the city. However, the spate of kidnapping and robbery by criminals using Uber as a tool had marred this business and was becoming a challenge.
Uber operates totally online which is the main difference between regular Lagos cabs and Uber, with only the transportation of passengers warranting a physical interaction. After the service has been rendered by the driver, Uber then takes its commission from the fare, which is charged per minutes.
The other challenge that passengers have had to voice out about is the rate that Uber charges, this has been partly caused by the high level of traffic usually experienced within the city of Lagos. For instance, journeys of 10 minutes can sometimes take more than 1 hour to complete, and it is the passengers that bear most of the repercussions.
Perhaps, this was what culminated in the launch of a corporate motorbike counterpart of Uber in Lagos called “Gokada” some couple of months back.
Deji Oduntan, the founder of Gokada started this business in 2018 with the aim of assisting Lagos commuters to avoid traffic, while getting to their destinations in time. With its headquarters in Yaba, Gokada is a registered business entity and is fully customised with green helmet and green vests worn by riders.
Gokada can also be called online just like Uber, and they operate on all types of roads including highways like the Third Mainland Bridge. These have caused some worries for concerned road users who are aware of what can happen if the government doesn’t check their excesses.
An unrestrained bike operation within the city like Lagos could lead to some fatal accidents as well as causing even more traffic. The government will need to come up with rules that bring order to their operations if chaos is to be totally avoided within the metropolis.
Though the concept of Gokada should be applauded, guidance should be the key element in its actions, as investors are quick to jump on the bandwagon of operators without proper orientation.
Already as we write, a carbon copy of Gokada’s business model is in operation with their customised yellow helmets and yellow t-shirts. This new one is called Maxokada, and they operate on every road in Lagos too.
Other investors are learning from Gokada and are replicating same - here comes Maxokada!
The transportation system that integrates roads, water, and rail system is what is needed to ease the traffic situation in Lagos. It is hoped that the incoming governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-OLu will take a critical look at this, and will find a lasting solution that does not involve Okadas to the transport challenges of Lagosians.
It is also anticipated that Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu will look into the operations of the corporate Okadas in Lagos and make critical guiding rules and regulation that will inform their safe operations within the city of Lagos. It is advised the laws banning the operation of Okadas – either corporate or otherwise, on 400 previously listed Lagos roads, be upheld as a matter of urgency.
>>> In a different development, 115 motorcycles including 22 ‘Gokada’ & ‘Maxokada’ seized by Lagos State Task Force