How the Foremost ride-hailing service- Uber, penetrated the Nigeria market, and its current state barely six years after
Uber established a presence in Nigeria’s most commercialized city, Lagos close to six years ago, and it has led the ride-hailing space ever since, cutting across other states of the country including Abuja, and Port-Harcourt. The American multinational ride-hailing company started in Nigeria almost as a monopolist, considering that OGA Taxi- the first ride-hailing service to launch in the country wasn’t so active.
Uber launched in Lagos, Nigeria sometimes in July 2014– a year after it debuted in the Africa region– marking its 400th city of launch. At that, it overhauled the entire system, as well as changed the perception that most people had about ride-hailing service. There was a seamless app to be operated by both Drivers, and riders; a cleaner and sophisticated ride to take you around the city; more time-conscious driver to pick you up among other great benefits.
Uber has been hard to overthrown by several other services that launched in the city afterward- Taxify (now known as Bolt), PamDrive, GidiCab, RideMe Taxi, RideOn, Pair, etc couldn’t match Uber in terms of services, making it the most sort after. Also, OCar, a newly-launched ride-hailing service that is powered by OperaPay has just joined the long queue, and while it appears to be a stronger contender– in its own case– than Taxify, among others– it is only a matter of time before we can tell whether it is capable enough to overthrow Uber in the same market.
Uber, however, has failed to keep up with a lot of good standards which it was known for as at the time of inception. The most notable of them all is the kind of cars used by the various driver of the ride-hailing service. There is a massive difference between the kind of cars Uber ‘use to accept’ and ‘now accept’.
Based on the Uber general requirement, vehicles must be at most 15 years old or younger (meaning that a car model year should be 2004 or newer, judging by current year-2019). However, this standard appeared to have been misplaced, considering that it has not been closely monitored. A lot of drivers which initially registered with almost outdated cars should have been ejected, but on the contrary, a lot of them still operates for the ride-hailing purpose, hence, denting the appearance of what the brand actually stands for.
Still on cars, Uber has also failed to closely supervise the physical appearance of their operational vehicles, which then makes me wonder what exactly the various ‘Uber Inspection Center‘ has been up to lately, as it appears to rather be a dormy facility than actually help at all. As a matter of fact, I have entered several Uber rides with different kinds of faults– from poor appearance to poor interior among other complaints– does it mean Uber really doesn’t care about its fleet more that it does for the revenue generated? I do assume ‘No’ for an answer, although it appears to be so.
Also, beyond the look of the vehicle, there seem to be other loopholes that Uber has failed to pay attention to lately. Basically, a lot of them have to do with the kind of services delivered by the various driving personnel. While Uber may be trying all its best to make sure that riders get the most of their paid-services, some drivers have devised other means to cut corners in their deliveries, which in the long run dents the image of the company.
For instance, Some Uber drivers are fond of lateness. Have you ever had to wait for an Uber ride that you felt you could have actually taken a public transit instead? If yes, you probably would have been frustrated on that occasion and may have picked up a fight with the driver on his arrival, especially if the reason for the delay is apparently a lame one. Some Nigerian Uber drivers are found of lateness- a bad attribute that speaks volumes of inappropriacy to the riders.
Re-routing trip is another popular inadequacy found among Uber drivers, and in a way, dents the image of the company. You probably will be amazed to find out that even a ride-hailing service like Uber can also be manipulated. Well, now you know, so you may want to watch out on your future trip on the platform.
Various Uber drivers have their respective plans while taking trips, and while it all streamlines to making ends meet, some drivers could be very dubious in the execution of their services. As a matter of fact, it takes only a regular customer who has a vast knowledge of the app to quickly notice.
Drivers owning multiple accounts is another inadequacy that Uber has to pay attention to. Sometimes you order for a ride with a specific bio, however, you get to see a different face asking you to opt-into a ride. Certainly, this is a big security issue that the company has to oversee to avoid a lot of mishaps. Apparently, Uber was kicked out of London for issues similar to this.
However, this is not to outrightly say that Uber has not been working on solving a lot of these securities flaws. Lately, the ride-hailing company introduced a code system that prompt riders to receive an OTP passcode before the commencement of a trip, and in a way, this has helped to cub issues related to owning ‘multiple accounts’, or ‘wrong driver’.
That been said, it is also worthy to note where Uber currently stands in the heavily saturated market.
Years after Uber arrived in the Nigeria market; more competitors have surfaced within the space, creating more competition for the American-owned company than ever. Although, no company has really been able to threaten Uber’s presence in Nigeria so far, however, given the presence of a bigger contender like Opera-backed OCar, then just maybe there might be a change in the narrative.