The startup space in Lagos has just welcomed a new entrant, an international car ride-hailing service that will be competing with the likes of Uber and Taxify
The international ride-hailing service, inDrive has reportedly debuted in Lagos, Nigeria, in order to compete with existing services such as Uber and Taxify which are the most prominent in the region. Although, having its headquarter located in New York, US where it was founded in 2013 , the company felt the need to expand beyond the wall of American, hence the reason it is launching it services in the African continent, and at that commencing with Lagos State- the most commercialized city of Nigeria, located in the region.
With the new service, ride-hailing users, apart from having access to more options, will also now have the choice of using an app with an entirely different module. Yes! I said a different module because, unlike the other services in the country, the new inDrive app makes use of a new pattern in booking and paying for rides.
To book a ride on inDriver, you will first input your current location, after which you will select your preferred destination, the amount you’re willing to pay, and a last option to include “comments and wishes”. When you request the ride, drivers close to your location will confirm your order by either accepting your bid or presenting a counterbid.
The funny part of the module used by the inDrive is the aspect of making payment. Her, you are not given a price range (that is subjectable to changes based on several factors), instead, you will be made to bid for prices which come in three different amount respectively. For instance, if you are going from Suruler to Ikorodu, You can be asked to pick a bid between three amounts as seen in the image below, let’s say ‘#2,500’, ‘#3,000’ or ‘#3,200’. Of course, you would pick the lowest amount, however, while this is most likely to be favorable for the passenger, it may be the other way round for the driver in most cases.
“Until today, taxi services in Nigeria did not leave any choice for local residents when it came to the cost of the trip. Users were only offered to agree to the price specified in the application or on the taxi counter. inDriver came to change this situation. We want customers and drivers to independently and directly determine the fare and favorable price for each trip. Already today, residents of Lagos using inDriver will be able to make sure that the cost of travel can be significantly lower than the usual prices,” said Egor Fedorov, Chief Marketing Officer.
While Lagos is the first State in Nigeria where the service is been launched, the services had earlier launched in other African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Soth Africa, and Tanzania. Interestingly, the service has already begun to record success even just when you do think they might be facing challenges in the new market, especially having to compete with other services that have their own stable module already intact; as a matter of fact, the service has reportedly connected more than 6,000 drivers in Lagos, and dozens of new drivers are being registered daily.
In order to serve the Drivers right just like the passenger, the company informed that it wouldn’t be charging the Drivers any commission for a start. My own fear is if these Drivers will be able to bear with the potential issue that may arise from the bidding feature going forward.
Another interesting feature about the inDrive is that, unlike with the likes of Uber and Taxify which directly matches drivers to passengers; with inDrive, once the counteroffers are in, passengers select the most suitable driver in line with what categories are most important to them – fare, driver rating, estimated time of arrival or vehicle model.
Also, on the path of safety, inDrive offers passenger the option to share via GPS, their respective locations and ride details in real-time from the app with trusted contacts, a feature that seems to already exist on other services as well.